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My oldest daughter recently became a high school senior. Life suddenly has become more real and definite.

When we were younger and new parents, like most during that time, my husband and I were broke. We lived paycheck to paycheck, struggling to provide for our children while still giving our little ones a stable home.

The days flew by, as he worked and I stayed home to raise the kids. I became active at the church. So active, in fact, I was there almost every single day between teaching in our weekday program, taking Bible study classes, in addition to all the other programs a large church offers for young families.

The years flew by. We opened our business, a 24-hour emergency service. My husband worked more. We bought a house. We had another child. I went to work for a hospital for a couple of years, became less active at church. Left to go back home full time, became active at the girls’ school. My husband worked more. We had our last child. Bought another house. And suddenly, eighteen years had passed by since we began our family. What happened? We had merely blinked.

In the midst of life, life happened. And I feel like we missed it. We missed the Kodak moments. We missed the Hallmark commercial greetings. We missed the French connections. Okay. That last one was a stretch. But you get the picture. The perfect life was lost while living it.

And now. We only have one more year as a complete family before our daughter will be gone. As I was prematurely mourning this natural process of time, it dawned on me. I am constantly looking to the future while struggling through the present.

I wake up every morning and wonder what it has in store for me, while going through my checklist of “must dos”. That checklist rarely includes the Kodak moments. The Hallmark commercial greetings are usually quick salutations between the chores of whatever holiday is occurring. And the French connections…..well. We did host a French foreign exchange student last year, so I suppose we met that one.

The point is I hadn’t created the “perfect memories” for my family. I felt as if I have failed as a mother. We only have this brief time on earth, and I’ve wasted it for my children. There is no legacy that has been bestowed.

I asked the girls what were their favorite memories as a family. Road trips was the number-one answer. They varied after that. One enjoyed our thunderstorm parties, which consisted of nights on Mom and Dad’s floor in sleeping bags watching movies.

My 12-year-old said she liked when we go swimming together. Our second born, who is extremely precocious, mentioned our unity as a family in disliking her older sister’s former beau. That last one took me by surprise and was a bit disturbing, but hey, a family that spurns together, stays together, right?

As in all times when seeking sage wisdom, I went to the Bible. The Bible is full of stories about families. Interestingly enough, very few of them involve family vacays. Very few of them involve reflection of childhood memories. God is not interested in us creating Kodak moments for our children. The Lord desires for us to be good to our children and to raise them up in His ways.

Do Hallmark commercial greetings reflect the God’s glory? And upon further review, The French Connection was actually a movie about drug smuggling.

Our Christian legacy we leave our children isn’t built upon the commercialized view of the “perfect life”. Our Christian legacy is in how we behaved when life happened. It is in how they see us handle crises.

How we handle joy. Our work ethic. Our leaning on Him for all things. Our ability to admit when we are wrong. Our love for them and our love for Him. Our Christian legacy to our children isn’t about a perfect life. It’s about a Godly life.

Life is definite. Life is real. But life is not idyllic. Every moment shouldn’t be frame-worthy for our progeny. In the end, what our children really need is Godly parents.

All the rest is simply….of this earth.