My sister Mary, whose blog, The Eleventh, the first thing I look at on line in the morning, has invited (or challenged, as it were) to list 8 things I want to do before I die. Now, I’m too old to actually do all eight of those things, or even the 153 things I want to do before I die. But her challenge has made me think alot about my priorities and what kind of lasting impression I would leave if I actually succeeded in doing those eight things. So, here they are:
1) Have a loving and peaceful family get together with my daughters and their families. The last time I was with them both was almost 4 years ago, at my youngest’s wedding in Las Vegas. No time for Mother-Daughter bonding. I would also like to have their father, my first husband, there as well, to reminisce about their childhood and look with awe at the beautiful children they had created. No acrimony, no bickering, no finger-pointing, just love.
2) Convince my father that my mother is his first at utmost priority. This woman bore 13 children for him, raised 12 of them almost single-handedly while he was looking out for #1, himself. Even now, in their 80’s, it’s still all about him. My mother is one of the most intelligent, loving, compassionate and Christian person I know, and he still treats her as chattle.
3) #1, only with my siblings. But there are too many of us, with too many personalities, too many conflicting mindsets and hangups, for that to happen. One (or two, or seven) of us will start an arguement about politics, religion, or social status, someone will start crying, a few will leave. You’d expect that from high schoolers, not people who are 40+ years old.
4) Spend time with my oldest grandson. His grandfather and I raised him from toddler to 6 years of age while his mother pursued an education and employment. Those years were the most rewarding of my life. He was born at a time in my life when a lot of women contemplate having another child. He was such an easy child, very imaginative, loving, and very aware of compromises and consequences. I sincerely believe that the day his father, our ex-son-in-law, sued and got custody, was the beginning of the end of our marriage. Vincent is now a klunky 15 year old, handsome, intelligent, talented, lazy; a typical teenager. He doesn’t remember the time he lived with us, and that breaks my heart.
5) . Move closer to my youngest grandson. I believe (quite selfishly, I admit) that I can have a permanent, positive influence on this boy who is so much like his mother and grandfather it’s almost scary. But because he is so much like them, it would give me so much pleasure to relive my life with them. Cooper is such a smart, complicated boy, he needs Grandma J to take him off his mom’s hands for just a day or two at a time. Everyone would benefit. Especially Grandma.
6) Publish my book, if I could only recover it from the floppy disk where it’s stored. I hate to have to rewrite it, since it was written in my pre-Prozac days when I was more painfully creative.
7) Find a church where I can feel accepted and where I can cultivate my Christianity, give mightily with my talents, and leave a legacy of love. I have never found a church like that, and I’ve almost given up hope to find one.
8) Pay my debts, financially, emotionally, and socially. I want to leave this life knowing that I owe no debts, that I’ve been forgiven my shortcomings, and that I have made a difference in someone’s life. The first one I will know before I die, the others I hope to see from the hereafter, in the positive and productive lives of those I have touched.