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A legacy in the making

We finished the castle today. After a week in the making it was a glorious moment followed by much castle play.

We also went to a stage performance of Peter Rabbit that was fun, but didn't catch Calvin's imagination the way previous plays have done. That's okay with me; Peter isn't one of my favorite characters or stories anyhow.

Then, all week Calvin has looked forward to my dad's retirement party, and tonight it was finally here. Being at Gandy Dancer he got two chances to see trains going by right outside the window, and even though we were there for hours he was happily entranced by the puzzles, books, and art materials we brought for his entertainment, as well as by the the people who spoke to him and the slide show of his Grampa, shown over and over again. I was proud of him. That's what parents do, isn't it? Feel proud of their children.

All of my life my parents have continually reminded me of how proud they are of me. Children take their parents for granted, and as I watch Calvin I know that's exactly the way it should be, but tonight, watching the slide show and hearing others talk about my dad was a different view. I never thought much about him in his job. He has always been my dad—I knew what he did for a living and knew he was good at it, but at home he was my dad and that was what counted. To me. To so many others it was his integrity at work that counted, and the quality of his working years was obvious in the joy of memories, and sorrow at loss, of those present tonight. It wasn't news to me, but rather a spotlight on the previously un-noted, and it was my turn to be proud of him.

At the end of the evening, as we stood in the foyer waiting for our car, Calvin chatted lightly with one of the greeters about trains and dinner while he donned his sweater for the ride home. I wasn't paying much attention, but I heard her ask him his age and tell him that she had a two year old boy at home. On our way out the door she said to me "He's adorable, so healthy." I thanked her and said goodnight, but it wasn't until we were almost all the way home that I realized exactly what she had said to me, and recognized the immense compliment. "Healthy." It still rings in my ears as a resounding commendation. Full time mom's don't have regular performance reviews, something I often lament to my fully understanding mother.

But then my father has often commented to me that very few people ever leave behind legacies in their place of work, that if we wish to leave a lasting mark on the world that mark must be made in our children, and in our children's children. Tonight we saw the legacy my father leaves at work—and he is likely to be one of the few who is not quickly forgotten—and that other legacy, the one we are all creating, who is now a healthy, inquisitive four year old boy.

There's a connective fiber somewhere in here, a strong thread about pride, families, and legacies, but though I started with it in mind I can't seem to find the end again in order to tie it up. It's leaving me with an unfinished feeling; no witty wrap-up, no full circle comment. Or maybe that's the metaphor in and of itself.

We made a castle this morning.

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