On Dental Care, Sweat Rags and Leaving a Legacy

I’ve been thinking a lot on the legacy I will leave behind.  Not sure why this has captured my thought process so much lately.  Of course, living with an aged person… and on the fast track to becoming one myself, I guess it’s kind of “normal”.

I mean, what will my kids and grandkids remember most about me?  Will they laugh at the fond memories?  Cry because they miss me?  Will they cuddle up in the quilts I imagine I might make for them someday, cradling one of my beloved books?  Do they even care about quilts?  Or books?

Or…. will they breathe a sigh of relief and say “man, that was one crazy old gal”?  Will they find something embarrassing stashed in a dresser drawer?  Or written in a journal?  Will they put a sticker over my face in the family photos?  I don’t know.

However, I am thinking it would be good to review my journals.

Recently, while on my quest to sort boxes of stuff and part with stuff so my life is no longer ruled by stuff, I found this….

….our old family toothbrush holder.  All our names in that ongoing circle.  My mom made it for me.

Back in the day I did a lot of ordering about and commanding of the brushing of teeth…

“brush those teeth and get to bed!! – – don’t you dare leave this house without brushing your teeth!! – – get out of bed and get those teeth brushed!! – – I can’t afford dental bills!”

And oddly, I didn’t really give a rip about our ceramic tooth-brush holder back then.  So why am I all misty eyed over it now?

Then there were the driving lessons with teenage sons.

I was not good at that.  It made me nervous.  Always prepared however, I kept paper towels in the car.  Then when my hands got clammy and started to sweat profusely I could dry them off.  Besides, there are myriad uses for paper towels when you tote a car load of boys around.

Sons referred to the paper towels as my “sweat rags”.

Every time we headed out, I would grab my handful of towels, try desperately to stifle the sighs and groans… all the while stomping on the imaginary brake all parents wish they had on the passenger side of the car.

It wasn’t very pretty.

One weekend David and I were visiting his grandparents.  It was a two-hour drive in a rural area and a great chance for him to practice.  But about five minutes into the drive home he just pulled the car over, turned off the ignition and handed me the key.  His stealy-eyed glare said more than words ever could.

I always felt bad about that.

David went on to become an excellent driver and a leader of men in war.  So I feel a tad silly looking back on all the stressing over teeth-brushing and car-driving.  He does have a beautiful smile though.

I don’t want my sons remembering all that goofy stuff… at least not in a “she was a pain in the neck” way.  So I’ve got to come up with better things.

It’s a forgone conclusion my legacy will have nothing to do with monetary value.  Hope they won’t mind

And I’m not sure I will ever finish all the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 done quilts and knitted afghans I’ve started.

This month I had a goal to add another 10,000 words to the story of us.  I won’t make that goal, but I did complete a very detailed blueprint of what this story will look like.  And I feel good about that.

It turns out that knowing where you’re headed is quite helpful in the writing process.

So for now, that’s my plan.  Just keep writing the story of us.  There are still things I need to tell them – – better things that just to brush their teeth.  I like to think of them reading and laughing and maybe even shedding a tear or two over things they couldn’t possibly have known back then.

I’d like to be the passer on of the flame… of family knowledge and love.

And I’m keeping that toothbrush holder.  Vase for small flowers?  Pencil holder for my desk?  A place to stash my “fat-free” red vines?  Yes.  I like that.

6 thoughts on “On Dental Care, Sweat Rags and Leaving a Legacy

  1. Brooke, if the words you leave behind for your family include pieces like this one, your legacy will be a precious treasure. You have a gift! Just be sure you finish it sooner rather than assume there will be a later in which to do so. Keep at it. Don’t let it become another unfinished project. (This tidbit comes to you from the queen of procrastination!)


  2. Courtney

    Your boys are very blessed to have a mother like you. I know each of them loves you so much and I’m sure they all have tons of memories of you. And I I know you’ll be leaving a legacy. Take for instance your cookies…..It’s already been brought to my attention (and I’m sure I’ll be reminded more & more throughout the years, lol) that, “you’ll never be able to make a chocolate chip cookie like my mama” hahaha …. I know there are more legacies you’ll leave behind…but THAT is one to be proud of! 😉

    On a more serious note, there are so many things about you that I strive to be like….a big one that comes to mind is patience. I don’t think I’ve met anyone with the patience you have…something I lack SO much of. You’ve always been someone I’ve admired, an always will!


    1. Courtney, I have seen you with your kids, the things you do with them, all the effort expended and believe me – – you are more patient than you think. And I think Daniel’s just being a goof on the cookies – – you make good stuff 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet words:)


  3. Oh, Brooke, this had me laughing when you mentioned they might put a sticker over your face! I’d never considered my kids might do that to me one day. Well, wait, no they can’t. I’m always taking the pictures so I’m absent from our family photos! That’s just lovely. Now, they really won’t remember me!

    But, seriously, this was wise advice for me, as my sons are still 12yo and 14yo (not yet driving). Thank you for reminding me God is control (even during driving lessons).


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