October 23, 2006

Legacies



...more on flickr...

After a nice, long week of being sick (again), we were all feeling well enough to get out of the house on Sunday. We headed over to my parents to visit them and my grandmother who's in town for a week. My grandmother is doing wonderfully. I'll admit, I was worried about what might happen to her after my grandfather died but those turned out to be unfounded fears. We spent a few hours inside and out and, as I described my life with Mia to my grandmother, as I showed off just how cool she is, I found myself immensely proud of her, Beth and even myself.

A while back I read a book, part of which dealt with legacies. As in, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? This used to be a question I worried about. Seriously. For the longest time, I figured that I'd be unsatisfied if I hadn't written the great American novel or recorded the definitive rock album. It wasn't that I wanted to be recognized, that I wanted my name to become a household one. Instead, it was that I wanted to contribute, leave something behind which had some impact on people. I use the past tense, though I'm not sure my desire to see this happen has changed. Instead, I've accomplished it. Without doubt, my daughter is my single greatest accomplishment. Better than any sonnet I'd write, novel I'd develop or album I'd ever record.

It's not that I don't want to write that novel or record that album. It's not that I don't want to take the perfect picture or somehow write the greatest blog entry in the history of the known universe. I do. But my greatest accomplishment is and will always be Mia.

Last night Mia turned to Beth and said mama. Then she turned to me and said dada. And I grew even more proud than I had been before. While I didn't think possible.

Posted by Chris at October 23, 2006 07:27 AM
Comments

You know what this means? We all need an audio post of Miss Mia's first words!

How very exciting for both you and Beth. :o)

Posted by: Emily at October 23, 2006 07:37 AM

Great photos, as usual! Don't our priorities change once we have kiddos? Life can be so simple, if we let it.

Here's hoping the scratchy throat I just woke up with and big sneeze I just did don't turn into something that would be a big pain in my ass.

Posted by: Sharri at October 23, 2006 07:38 AM

First words are so amazing. My little one's first word(s) was actually 'dan koo', which translate to English as Thank You.

Since then, his manners have gone slightly downhill, but he can say "Tyrannosaurus Rex" and 'give me a break' and 'Thomas is a really useful engine!' and many, many, many (oh dear God) many other things. And he does. All day long.

The best is yet to come, is what I'm sayin' here.

Posted by: Contrary at October 23, 2006 07:51 AM

You will only be more proud as the years go on. Although I'll be the first to admit that my kids can be a handful, totally frustrating at times, there's never a moment when I'm not proud of their abilities: their intelligence, their independence, their compassion.

And my mother tells me that she feels immense satisfaction and pride knowing she (and my dad) raised 3 happy, productive members of society.

Way to go, Chris! And lovely photos, as usual.

Posted by: Alissa at October 23, 2006 07:53 AM

Great post.

Posted by: Bill at October 23, 2006 08:26 AM

that striped outfit makes me giggle every time. she just looks so freaking cute in it. and the pigtails! the cuteness, it kills. which is a good thing because i so wasn't looking forward to this Monday.

Posted by: pea at October 23, 2006 08:27 AM

Aw, she's saying mama AND dada? And she knows which is which? That's so awesome!

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 23, 2006 08:39 AM

You know, one day when I was feeling particularly bad about myself, I was thinking about my Obituary. What would they write? What have I done to make the world a better place? They'd write She was born...She died!
Then I thought of my daughter, who is this amazing woman, working in the Oncology Research area of medicine, and how she is helping to make life better for thousands of people.
So I may never write a novel, or paint a picture that will hang in the Louvre, but I made Amanda and the world is a better place because she is in it.

Posted by: Maribeth at October 23, 2006 09:00 AM

yay for Mia talking!!

Posted by: ali at October 23, 2006 09:17 AM

great Pictures! I love Mia's Dr. Seuss outfit.. Adorable. :)

Congrats on the Mama and Dada! Exciting, isn't it?

Posted by: molly at October 23, 2006 09:24 AM

Glad you got it figured out. :)
And yeah, we need a video post - or at least an audio one.

Posted by: Traci at October 23, 2006 09:25 AM

I had a similar change in my priorities, although this still alters from time to time. No longer am I worried about legacy in terms of myself, but what I have done for my daughter.

However even within that context things have changed on periodically, from just worrying about raising her as best I can, to providing the richest life experience I can, I am currently involving myself in politics more than ever before, because I think to myself, that I need to leave this world in better shape for her than I found it (a tough task, considering the current administration).

It just goes to show, that even after you think you have stopped growing as a person, that little person can help you grow, as much as you help them.

Posted by: Latte Man at October 23, 2006 09:28 AM

yay. she speaks :)

Posted by: suze at October 23, 2006 09:36 AM

How exciting that she's talking. Two words at once and next the deluge.

I agree with Latte Man about legacies of course. It's one of the reasons I'm so mouthy.

And such good news about your grandmother. Quite a turnaround from a little while ago.

Posted by: ann adams at October 23, 2006 09:42 AM

Funny how things change. I'm sure all the parents reading this blog post are smiling indulgently at you right now. ("Told ya so," they're thinking.) :)

Posted by: Zandria at October 23, 2006 09:44 AM

I second an audio post made by Mia! Also, very sweet post today! Thanks!

Posted by: linda at October 23, 2006 09:57 AM

good moments!
BTW - great picture of your two ladies!

Posted by: wn at October 23, 2006 10:01 AM

It's amazing how much parenthood changes your outlook on life. And even more specifically, success.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at October 23, 2006 10:32 AM

Yeah, I just completely melted. So very sweet.

Posted by: Jessie at October 23, 2006 10:42 AM

Before we were married, my husband thought it would be cool to raise kids to call him by his first name...sort of like tiny adults. I told him that anyone in the world can call him "Bryan" but only one kind of person can call him "Dad". He got the message and now I think it's still his favorite role in life.

Posted by: wordgirl at October 23, 2006 11:17 AM

Cutest. Picture. Ever. ...well maybe not ever, but this is a good one. :) She's soooo cute.

What are you dressing her up as for Halloween this year, by the way? It's going to be hard to top the elephant...?

Posted by: Oakley at October 23, 2006 11:33 AM

Aww! Mia knows who you guys are! Too cute :)

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at October 23, 2006 11:51 AM

Ok this pic totally reminds me of "Labrynth".

**You remind me of the babe, what babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of voodoo. Who do? You do, remind me of the babe**

Ok so I really like that movie. It's my guilty pleasure!!!

Posted by: ::c:: at October 23, 2006 11:54 AM

I agree, once you have kids, the big picture really realigns itself.

And oh, the stripey outfit and the pigtails... you're killing us with the cute, really.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at October 23, 2006 12:31 PM

That is a seriously precious picture!!!! I love her little outfit and pigtails!!

Great post! While kids aren't in my future, I second those thoughts. It always makes me proud when I think about my students and the legacy I leave through them-- even though it's not quite the same as being a parent, it's the closest I'll come. ;)

Posted by: Sassy at October 23, 2006 12:35 PM

We had the same worries about my grandmother when my granfather died. She was 17 when she married him, and we thought she'd die of a broken heart within a year (they were married 53 years) but that was 5 years ago and she's doing great.

I saw a license plate on a yellow mini cooper this morning that said "MIBEAN" and for a second I thought it said "MiaBean".

Posted by: Judy at October 23, 2006 12:59 PM

I am leaving behind a legacy of misery and pain. It's what I am good at and I stick with it. I believe my daughters will be carrying on that tradition as well, they have been practising on me lately.

Posted by: Jeff A at October 23, 2006 01:03 PM

Mia makes me want to play "Where's Waldo" in that picture!!

My kids are definately going to be my legacy. I, too, thought I would have written a novel (I have just haven't gotten published) or done something "really important". I wish I knew what that really important thing was supposed to be.

My kids are great and are turning out so awesome though, its hard not to be happy with the contribution I have made.

Posted by: Debbie at October 23, 2006 01:15 PM

"Hold on tight, Mia. We're gonna have to jump across this raging river. Don't worry, Dada will get you across safely!" TOO CUTE!

Posted by: Jaycie at October 23, 2006 01:27 PM

What a beautiful sentiment. I always think I'd like to feel I'll have some kind of impact in my life, which is probably why I'm going into teaching.

But I know the lives I want to have the most positive impact on will be my children (when I have some).

You have made an awesome contribution to the world through Mia. All the things she will do in her life and all the people's lives she will touch will come as a direct result of you and Beth. What a privilege and responsibility.

Posted by: starrynite at October 23, 2006 01:28 PM

The immense love and pride you show to your wife and daughter are legacy enough for me. The novel/album, in my opinion, are too common place. You are setting an excellent example of being an uncommonly good husband and father.

Believe me, in my business I see enough of the opposite end of the spectrum to know what I'm talking about.

The other stuff...you're a creative guy. All in good time.

Here's to feeling better soon.

Cheers,
JJ

Posted by: JackassJimmy at October 23, 2006 01:56 PM

Great Post! Congratulate Mia on the talking. (And it only gets better from there... soon she'll be in full parrot mode, and then you'll see just how improper/imperfect your speech can be sometimes.)

Posted by: Jeff at October 23, 2006 02:40 PM

It was my mom's birthday yesterday. She turned a young 64. We went out to dinner in celebration--all 18 of us (including grandkids). I brought my kids, who are now 20 and 16. I sat back and watched them carry on conversations with my brothers...*real* conversations. I smiled inside and said, "HA! I GAVE them that part!" (I was so proud!)

This is just food for thought, but I had a sister-in-law who was diagnosed with cancer, which progressed *very* quickly. The minister gave her a book about leaving a legacy. She didn't want to do any of the things the book discussed. Not because she didn't think she was going to die and not need it, but I think because she wasn't happy about who and what she was.

My husband and I got huge milage out of that concept, always wondering "What could we tell the kids, or show the kids, or do with the kids *now* that will demonstrate who and what we are and were to the world that will show them the way to be who and what they were meant to be?" There really wasn't anything in particular to do except to be satisfied and comfortable with *us*.

Posted by: kristen at October 23, 2006 02:52 PM

I want Mia's outfit.

Posted by: Alison at October 23, 2006 03:42 PM

- magic, nothing else..
- sorry my first thought on the picture is Where is Waldo ! (hey you can't blame me on that one!)

First words out of my boys mouth
- light
- mama
- ouch

He eventually got the hang of daddy

I have thought at lenght about the legacy piece... I will forward a gift tomorrow. hopefully you like it.

Posted by: DavidR at October 23, 2006 04:41 PM

So sweet.

And that striped outfit is about the cutest thing ever.

Posted by: janet at October 23, 2006 04:56 PM

Your photography is stunning! I wish I had someone around with your skill to document the moments of my life. Hoop's idea of taking photos is catching one of me up the nose while I sleep... Or the dog licking its ass. Can you imagine what our photo album would look like?

BTW: Mia looks like the "babe" from Labyrinth!

Posted by: Tink at October 23, 2006 05:25 PM

i love her little outfit. it reminds me of dr. seuss. :D

Posted by: Dawn (webmiztris) at October 23, 2006 06:06 PM

That's so cool. I feel the same way. In fact my greatest accomplishment will be seeing my girls grow up to be wonderful women.

Love the picture by the way. She's almost cute enough to eat in those stripey jammies and pebbles hair cut.

Posted by: Melissa at October 23, 2006 06:54 PM

All I can saw is awwwwwwww!

Posted by: Heather at October 23, 2006 07:02 PM

I wrote in my blog after my grandfather passed away that while he may not have been famous or the smartest man, he left his mark on the world in the way he loved and cared for his family. I may never have children, but I still hope I can leave my mark in some way.

Mia speaks - look out world!

Posted by: Beth in StL at October 23, 2006 08:21 PM

that little striped outfit you have mia in is adorable. i love stripes on kids. i dont know why, but i do.

And i think our legacy as parents are our kids. As long as we raise them not be assholes like most of the people are out there today, we have made a difference!

Posted by: kristied at October 23, 2006 08:23 PM

Thats a stunningly beautiful picture. The lighting is so perfect in it. Amazing!
And the entry is beautiful. Makes me see my parents in a slightly newer light.Ooh and btw, I'd totally buy your book and the rock album :)

Posted by: Dee at October 23, 2006 09:17 PM

This may be one of the best blog entries in the universe. ;) Great accomplishment. :) I feel the same way. I am so proud, and feel so complete and accomplished being a mommy to the monkey.

I love the pictures, by the way! They're all so beautiful. Mia's looking a lot like Beth! :)My monkey looks like her daddy. I would love to post pictures of her. Everyone does it! Why am I such a basketcase??

She's so adorable and that striped outfit is too. much.

Posted by: Haley-O at October 23, 2006 10:48 PM

an ex-husband of mine (thanks be to the ex in that statement) once said to me "you have no goals in life". I looked at him like he was crazy. My goal in life has always been to raise successful children. So far, so good.
Cas
He was such a bad decision in my life.

Posted by: cassie-b at October 24, 2006 01:42 PM

That is an awesome picture. Congrats on the first words!

Posted by: SMIT at October 24, 2006 04:17 PM

Beautifully said Chris. And I know it really comes from your heart.

Also: BEAUTIFUL picture! Your wife and baby girl are gorgeous. But you already knew that.

Posted by: Nadine at October 25, 2006 04:25 AM

man, i can't wait for "mama." my 6 month old babbles all the time now, and if i didn't know better (that is, if my baby were a genius and could actually talk at 6 months) i would think he was saying "dada" because that is what his babbles sound like. even so, it makes me jealous. "mama! not dada, mama!" my husband isn't so amused...

Posted by: you da mom at October 26, 2006 07:19 PM