Suzy's Blog/August 2006      Click for Suzy's Blog Summary

Suzy Smith
How am I going to be remembered? More importantly, how do I want to be remembered? This isn’t a new thought brought about by my advancing years. Death is always a possibility. Even in middle school English class, we were assigned the writing of our own obituaries. I wish I could remember what I said, so I could compare my younger and older points of view.

In Middle school, I would have chosen fame as my destiny. Perhaps I would be remembered as a concert pianist or a great artist. Even though I can’t sing, I have fantasized about singing the last act of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung to a standing ovation. Oh the stuff of dreams! There did follow careers in music and art and even a short day in the sun, but that was what I DID. When I think of legacy, I think more in terms of who I am. Is it possible the two are different?

Those former piano students I encounter from time to time aren’t, for the most part, playing the piano anymore. I didn't put anyone on the concert stage to be my legacy. That’s okay, those former students are now parents, seeing their children have piano lessons. They remember their lessons as an important part of growing up for reasons beyond learning to play the piano. I see that as a legacy, an ongoing effect which came out of who I am.

But, when I encounter my paintings in unexpected places, those “what I dids,” I am astounded to feel no connection. I have no sense of their being done by me or that they’re “mine”. They are not a legacy.

Or are they? They speak of whimsy, fun and joy, reach out and make a connection with the viewer. I may not feel they came from my hand, but they came from my heart. They say, as I wish to be remembered, she was lots of fun.

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Suzy Smith
Men lecture. Have you found this to be true?

Granted, I am basing my survey on a very small sampling, the significant men in my life, but they are such firm practitioners, I can only assume it is a prevalent masculine characteristic.

When we were thinking about what names we should assume as Grandparents, I suggested my husband be “Sage”. I looked it up. My Oxford mini dictionary defines it as “wise, particularly from experience.” Since Granddad (as he eventually became) began thinking about the wisdom he would pass on to these fortunate children while they were still in the womb, I thought calling him Sage might incline them to listen once they were born. It wouldn’t have made a difference. Just as males lecture, children don’t listen.

Granddad has wise words for me too. They’re mostly about how I could be more efficient. I listen and inside my head hear Professor Henry Higgins singing, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”

I remember asking my father questions and begging him to give me an answer in one simple sentence. He couldn’t do it, but then he was a college professor. Lecturing was his profession.

In a novel I was reading about the Victorian era, the father built a special lectern located halfway up the stairs overlooking the floor below. He assembled his family beneath him and made world shaking pronouncements from above.

They mean no harm these bearers of wise words. Really all they want to do is make life easier for the rest of us and they do, if only we’d listen.

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Suzy Smith
"Why do we cry at weddings?" Margaret asks. She has, via the internet, become a minister for the moment and will be officiating at a wedding in the next few days. Do our tears have any relevance to what she might say?

Quite honestly, I've never thought much about why I cry at weddings, I just do. Here comes the bride, so beautiful, so innocent, walking down the aisle into a new life. He waits for her with adoring anticipation. It is a moment of magic, full of possibilities and hope. What could be more moving?

In my youth, I cried because it was all so romantic, tugging at my heartstrings. Those two now joined, going forward, hand in hand into the sunset to live happily ever after. Age has made me more pragmatic. I know about the realities, the day to day stuff; mortgages, children, the question of who's going to take out the garbage. Sorrows will come as well as joys. While they're exchanging their vows, I'm thinking, "Will this union survive all these pressures?" A beautiful beginning, but where will it go? These are not unlike the tears that well up when I hold a new baby. A life yet to be lived, a miracle about to unfold. What will happen? Certainly a mixed bag of events. These are life's tears.

"Why do we cry at weddings?" I ask Christine as we drive to yoga. "For sentimental reasons." she answers. She's right, that's in there too. I cry for the joys and sorrows of my own marriage, so much of it lived, with the "until death do us part" looming on the horizon as we approach fifty years.

"Why do we cry at weddings" I ask my husband. "I don't" he answers. We laugh.

"Why do we cry at weddings?" I ask on the tennis court.

" For Joy." is the answer.

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Suzy Smith
I hate to discipline those little darlings, my grandchildren. Saying "No you can't do that," is a big hurdle for me. I watch their faces fall, their smiles disappear and I feel like an old ogre. Surely I will be remembered as the mean, old Grandmother, especially compared to their other grandmother who is wonderful at all times. I'm convinced all the fun and laughter we've experienced together will be forgotten in this one moment of "NO!"

Not that this happens very often as those children are so close to perfect, but, admittedly, there are times when I'd rather they wouldn't do what they are doing.

I've found my most comfortable approach to this problem is humor. This confuses them. Am I saying "NO" exactly? I get a quizzical look, but while they're mulling over what I've said, the objectionable behavior stops. Take for instance those sofas. They invite leaping feet. Better yet, there are two of them facing each other, one for him and one for her. Can you imagine more fun? Can you imagine how hard it is to put a damper on such glee? The first time this was the game of choice, I diverted their attention. The second time, having planned my strategy, I told them about the conversation I had with those sofas after one of their visits. Oh how the sofas loved to have them sit on their cushions, they told me, but the jumping was very painful. Being the almost perfect beings they are, those grandchildren would never intentionally hurt anything. My sofas were spared.

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