Instead, I gave them something far finer: I slipped books into their tiny hands. It was their legacy. My love of reading was given to them during those early, formative years, and thankfully, grew within them into their adulthoods.
Books were always around. Swaddled in a blanket, each infant was propped up against my lap as I sat in a rocker, watching and listening as I read my favorite children’s books. As they grew into toddlers, they curled against me and pretended to read, babbling away and patting the pages as I read.
We visited libraries and bookstores as much as possible as they grew older. Instead of buying dessert after a meal at a favorite restaurant, we walked to a bookstore and bought a book. For years, a box of books at Christmastime was one of their favorite gifts. I don’t know who had more fun: me collecting the classics, adventure stories, fantasies and nature books, or my children reading them. I used to find them huddled under blankets late at night, the light from flashlights outlining their silhouettes.
A legacy is something you leave behind for future generations. Something you’re known for. Something you think is so important, you’re willing to lay your name on it. Truman Haden fell into a legacy – that of his father. Regardless of familial sentimentality, Truman is a man of his name, and as such, wanted to do what he needed to do to fulfill the last wish of his father.
But what happens when one man’s dying wish – his legacy – conflicts morally with another person’s life? What is more important: maintaining your integrity, or upholding the family name? These questions, and so many more, are what Truman struggle with in Tragedy and Triumph. What would you choose to do?
I didn’t (and won’t) leave my family with a moral dilemma when I leave this life; I left them the written word. I’m not at all certain what will happen to my young grandchildren with the advent of e-books. How will they feel that intimate connectedness, that wonderful symbiosis from paper and inked words? I don’t know for sure and it worries me. But for now, their bookshelves are filled with messy piles of well-read books. It’s my legacy to them.