The Wolf-pack: A Legacy of Love, Loyalty and Laughter
My children having always been the biggest part of who I am. I have often told them that God gave them to me to keep me from being a self-absorbed jerk, which I no doubt would have been, if not for the fact that I had three little people to raise. Children force you to look outside yourself and to weigh your choices carefully. It’s not just about “you” anymore and that is an indescribable gift. I was not a perfect parent – that is a fantasy that will never come to fruition for anyone raising kids – but I was present. I was all-in, all the time and they knew it. So, whatever I lacked in wisdom, I at least made up for in effort and unconditional love. I am fortunate that they are as gracious to me as they are, remembering their childhoods with humor and affection. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always worth it.
I have always told them we are the Wolf-pack, because that is what we are. Fiercely loyal, playful, rough and tumble, fearless in our love for one another. You come for one of us, you had better be prepared to take on the pack, because we will never leave one to fight alone. I instilled in my children a love and loyalty that is immutable, unbreakable and without question. Our pack is bigger now with the addition of mates and pups, but we are still – and always will be – a pack. I make no apologies for this.
As they’ve grown older, the years seem to have sped up somehow. The same blocks of time seem to be on fast forward and whole years are flying by like rushing water through my fingers. At fifty years old, my thought have turned to what kind of inheritance I will be able to leave them. I have life insurance, but I know it’s not enough. I want to increase the premium, but that’s not possible right now. I want to leave them something substantial; a final gift that says “I was thinking of you even beyond death. I’m still here to take care of you.” My children say they would much rather have me than money, but if they can’t have me, I would like to be of some benefit to them, right up until the end.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic and the world is upside down. My daughter, Katelynn, just had her first baby, Finnegan. He is perfect in every way, of course. As we gathered to meet him, masks in place and eyes shining brightly at the wonderment that is himself, I wonder what he was thinking. Were we there to kidnap him? Was he born into a family of bank robbers? Why do we have only eyeballs? I’m kidding, of course, but not even Coronavirus can dim our love and enthusiasm for this newest member of our pack. My oldest boy, Jake, is a big man, but he fought tears as he cradled his brand new nephew in his massive hands. As I watched my beautiful daughter-in-law feed him, the conversation in the room was full of love and laughter. Jake got up and swept the floor, so my son-in-law wouldn’t have to do it. Such a small act of kindness, done without hesitation or complaint. It needed to be done and he did it, because that’s what brothers do.
My youngest boy, Brody, sent me a picture this morning of Finnegan in his arms. The love on Brody’s face brought tears to my eyes. I realized in that moment, that this – this unconditional, unwavering, at times too big, too much, too crazy – love that we have for each other…this is my legacy and the inheritance I am leaving my precious children. Financial blessings will come and go, but this will last forever. I know that when my time comes, my children will stick together and carry on. I know that if one calls, the others will come running. I know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that not even death can separate us. Money can’t buy that and if that’s all I get to leave them, then that is enough. I still plan to provide for them in practical and tangible ways, but my heart is at peace. I am so immeasurably blessed, in all the ways that matter.