While contemplating my writing and life work recently, I asked myself some questions.
What is the greatest achievement of my life so far?
What will the next season be about?
What will my legacy be?
No one event stands out in a life punctuated by a series of small successes and many failures. I had a successful teaching career and left to write full-time. I ‘ve written five books and worked on several more with others.
My husband and I raised two children into decent adults who completed university degrees and contribute to the community in a meaningful way.
I’m married to an amazing man who encourages me to be all that I can be. We’ve transitioned into a full-time creative life and have had many bumps along the road, but we love and live together happily with lots of laughter and adventures.
But you know, when I look back it’s sometimes the everyday, ordinary things that have made all the difference. They may not be known to the world, they involved no fanfare, they may have been tedious, but they have been my greatest success.
When my son was in Year Three, I found out he couldn’t read. He used to ask why he couldn’t read and called himself a loser. I was determined that he would not reach high school and struggle.
Tutoring, praying, badgering, bribing, incentivizing and pleading but, most of all, loving for the next four years in the everyday finally paid off.
The first time he sat up in bed with me and read his own book while I read mine, brings tears to my eyes even now.
In Year Seven we felt he had caught up with his peers enough not to feel inferior.
When he won an academic award at Year Seven Graduation I felt like all the effort was worth it.
Even in Year Eleven some of his difficulties resurfaced as the work challenged his weaknesses. However, he got through high school and went on to complete a Commerce degree.
I’m so glad I fought for my boy and that long the way, he learnt to work hard and be responsible for his own progress.
Now that boy is engaged and will be married in a few short months. All those ordinary days of making him do his homework, taking him to tutors, reading the entire Harry Potter series to him and the myriad other things that we did as parents to help him be the best person he could be are far more gratifying than any career achievement, any book I’ve written or any accolade I have received.
It’s the seemingly small things in life that may become our greatest legacy.
The things that perhaps others don’t see.
That aren’t necessarily going to get your name up in lights or earn you a million dollars.
Coffee with a friend, taking a child’s hand, conversations that turn philosophical after midnight, doing dishes with your honey, deciding what’s for dinner, ironing the school uniforms, reading to your child, budgeting, a moment staring at the sky, sending a message when you think of that person, walking in the bush with your dog: myriad ordinary, everyday moments that add up to the hours, days, weeks, months and years that make a life.
Moments that don’t make Facebook or Instagram are the the ones that matter in the end. In the end, they form our greatest achievements.