Heirlooms and Shoulders

The other day, I was washing my baby girl’s coming home outfit and getting it ready to pack in my bag for the hospital. This coming home outfit, is not just any outfit, it was hand picked by my Mama 30 years ago and worn by me as my coming home outfit. My first daughter also wore this coming home outfit, a little over two years ago. It’s a simple outfit, all pink with white lace ruffles and a matching bonnet, however, to me it’s more than just a coming home outfit, but it is an heirloom, it represents a legacy.

I am not a super mushy, sentimental person, but I do love heirlooms. I don’t need new and shiny, but give me something that has been passed down through generations covered with dust and in need of some TLC and I am in heaven. In fact, some of my most valued and prized possessions are heirlooms that have been passed down to me. Like the diamond in my wedding ring, it was my Nana’s. One of my most favorite and admired women on earth, I inherited her diamond that was given to her by the love of her life which in turn was given to the love of my life to have set in the wedding ring of his choice for me. And some day it will be passed down to my firstborn daughter. Another prized and valued heirloom of mine is an antique hall tree, which is believed to have been built by my great grandfather on my Dad’s side, and once used as an everyday, functional piece at the old family homestead.

I love thinking about these heirlooms and how if they could talk, what would they say. These heirlooms, whether it be a coming home outfit or an antique hall tree, carries with it a legacy. I have been thinking a lot about the word legacy and even thinking about what kind of legacy I want to leave behind for my daughters.

I come from a long line of strong and incredible women. Women, who have gone through the Great Depression, have experienced the loss of a husband at a young age, and even given birth to a child who wasn’t expected to make it, much less have a normal functioning life. I have the blood of these women coursing through my veins with their legacies begging to be lived on through myself and passed on to future generations. I love this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The awareness of a spiritual tradition that reaches through the centuries gives one a certain feeling of security in the face of all transitory difficulties.” Because of these women, my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, knowing the legacies that they have passed on, empowers me with a certain strength to be the kind of woman, wife and mother that I am called to be.

I never thought I would be the mama to two girls, I always saw myself as more of a “boy mom.” Much of how my daughters will view themselves and the world around them rests on my shoulders. I want them to see a woman who is confident in her own skin, no matter what the mirror or the scale may reflect. I want them to see a woman who admires and respects her husband. I want them to see a woman who works hard at taking care of and providing for the daily needs of her family. I want them to see a woman who gets up before the sunrise with her heart bare before the Lord because she knows He is the only one who can fill her up and sustain her. I want them to see a woman who pursues her dreams and passions. And last but not least, I want them to see a woman who is not afraid of doing the hard and holy things, forging a path, and not shying away or stepping down just because standing up for the voiceless or to the injustices of this world seems too big a task. This is the kind of legacy I want to pass on to my daughters.

I just finished reading Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love and the last chapter is entitled On Women. It echoes beautifully what it means to be a woman and how to carry on a legacy. I love what she says about our mothers and grandmothers, “As it is, we are the daughters and granddaughters of incredible women, and we get to rise up and carry on their legacy. We stand on their shoulders, and not one modern woman would lead today without the conversations they shaped and the changes they forged. With courage and resolve, our mothers and grandmothers moved the needle forward for women.”

What heirloom will you leave behind? What legacy will you pass down to your daughter, and her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter that will allow them to stand on your shoulders, giving them a certain strength that empowers them to forge ahead?

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