How to Identify Your Legacy – Dallas Frisco Family Photographer – Me Ra Koh
It began with lunch on a cold January day. Barbara and I sat in a restaurant sharing truffle fries, as we talked about how to identify your legacy.
She wanted to identify the legacy she has cultivated in her children and grandchildren. Barbara had some guesses of what it might be, but wondered what her family would say. What has impacted them most?
We started with her family history, the stories that shaped her as a child into a young woman and as a wife, mother, and active voice in the community. I loved hearing how funny and wild her dad was–a larger than life character to his three daughters. All the women back to her grandmothers and even some great grands were university educated! She, her sisters and daughter all attended Cornell (and seeds are being planted in her granddaughter, LOL). Her mom was a quiet power, intelligent and had great style. She sewed their clothes growing up, including their wedding and bridal party dresses. “I remember going to a high end department store with mom and showing her a dress (way out of our price range). She would make one almost identical. Nothing was ever too hard.”
Barbara’s backstory is so rich, holding the framework for who this beautiful, strong woman is that still gives so much to our local community in Frisco, TX.
I left our lunch excited for our FIORIA team to start the calls with her kids, grandkids, and even sister on the east coast. Over the next several months, the identity of Barbara’s legacy became more and more clear.
What Her Granddaughter Says
I love talking with kids. One of the most powerful ways to identify your legacy is to hear what the little ones love most.
“Nonie’s superpower is that she is a mind reader. She always knows how I feel. When we get together, we just talk about our days. I love just being with her. Nonie is also creative. She has really good style, creative with work, and her clothes are super cool! Nonie comes to all my hockey games and cheers for me. She is always so happy, very joyful and playful.”
“But the thing I love most about Nonie is that she is funny,” says Gianna. “We’ll go to a frozen yogurt place, and she gets ALL the flavors in ONE bowl! It’s a gross combination, but she eats it all!”
Barbara describes Gianna as being formidable. What an incredible word. She sees herself in her granddaughter–the inner strength of character. It radiates from their eyes in this portrait most of all. “But she can also be very silly,” Barbara adds, “which fits right in with me and Aunt Martha!”
What Little Joe Says about Nonie
“One of the things I love most about Nonie is that she’s artistic. She makes imaginary friends and games, and it’s fun to play together. I also love how talkative she is. Whenever we’re in the car, she talks a lot and always changes the subject. Makes me feel curious.”
Without knowing what Joe said, Barbara told me the first thing she loves about her grandson is his curiosity! “He’s only in 3rd grade, but we have incredible, AMAZING conversations about everything!” Isn’t it wonderful to know what you love most about your grandchildren or kids could also be what they treasure most about themselves?
Every time Barbara talks about her grandchildren, her face lights up when she shares how much they love each other, how much fun they have together. Of course, they argue like all siblings.
It’s beautiful how much Barbara cherishes their close bond.
The Aunts are on Their Way!
For years, Barbara and Martha have done a big road trip together. They call their nieces and nephews and say “The aunts are on their way!” These two! When Aunt Martha said she’d be willing to fly in for the photo shoot, the whole family was that much more excited! Aunt Martha and Barbara’s words inspired their portrait in the most beautiful way.
“There is an unspoken understanding and genuine respect and love for each other. We can just look at each other and connect instantly.”
“I always wanted to be Barbara when I was growing up. She was so smart, knew everyone in college, and never backed down from things she believed in. Barbara’s always been passionate, strong that way. She’s a lot like our dad, in charge, two peas in a pod.”
“But what I love most is how we grew up dancing and laughing together. Laughing almost to obnoxious levels, completely out of control, over everything we’re experiencing, especially on those road trips we’d take.”
What Barbara Loves about Her Sister
“My sister’s empathy knows no boundaries. She has always been for the underdog. Martha goes all the time, gregarious, loves people around her. And yet, Martha goes deeper, asks questions, watches out for those she loves. She is also a wonderful artist. Martha is joy.”
Barbara had planned to get a large portrait of her family, everyone all together. But as she looked at all the beautiful portraits, the one that identified her legacy so unexpectedly, was of her and Martha. Their laughter, joy and silliness. She shared how her dad was always dancing and laughing. This is where she came from, who she is, and what she cherishes in her grandchildren.
Waking Up to Joy
When we installed her artwork, Barbara decided to put the big one of her and Martha in her bedroom. She told me that after her husband passed, sometimes it’s hard to feel joy in the morning. But to wake up and see her laughing and dancing with Martha, it will give her the joy she needs. This identifies her legacy.
Martha got one for her living room too! She’s so excited for all her bridge ladies to see just who she and her sister are!
We put the rest in her living area across from the dining table. The next morning, Barbara texted me and said she was having breakfast with her beautiful family! In one of my calls with Barbara, she had expressed “I want to be able to look at those photos in my home and giggle!” (We did it Barbara! YAY!)
What Barbara Gave Her Children
Danielle and Justin love their mom. Both of their phone calls were so thoughtful and genuine.
Her daughter says, “I love my mom’s energy, she’s always on. I’ve gained such a real perspective of how much that is being a mom. She kept the train running through my childhood. Her presence has always been such a gift. I remember coming home from lunch in high school, and she was there. My mom is still always there and there is so much to be said for that. She loves fiercely and is all in.”
Barbara said it has been years since she’s had a photo of her two kids together. We made sure to fix that.
Justin says he has always looked up to his mom’s independence. “She’s her own person. Never afraid to take initiative. This internal strength. She’s very aware of what’s most important. I know my mom will always be there for me.”
Both of her kids identify her legacy as happiness. “My mom sacrificed whatever was necessary growing up and the fruit of it is our actual happiness as a family and individuals, no matter how different we are.”
“She has given us a sense of family,” says Danielle, “with how present she is. I don’t necessarily need her to fix things anymore, but I absolutely need her to be there. Her presence is a gift.”
We Must Hear What the Son-in-Law Thinks!
Simply put…”We’re complicated, but at the end of the day, if needed, one will bring the shovel, the other will fill the car with gas, and we’ll get it done,” says Jason.
When we did the family portrait, I told the family what Jason said. Everyone laughed knowing how true it is. (And I guess they’ve never had a picture of Jason laughing! YAY!). There is something special about being a complicated family that will always show up for each other.
“I want my family to remember how I made them laugh and not to judge people by one thing. To be satisfied with who you are and it’s enough. And who you are will always be fluid, transforming,” says Barbara.
Barbara, thank you for the honor of giving your family this legacy experience. Thank you for sharing your family stories and wisdom gained. Every time I talked with you, I walk away with another treasure. I love that you now get to wake up to JOY seeing you and Martha laughing and dancing! And that what you hoped might be your legacy when we first had lunch is real and alive in your kids and darling grandchildren.
Begin Your FIORIA Legacy Experience
How do you identify the legacy of your family? What would give you joy to see everyday, reminding you of what you cherish most? At FIORIA, we take time before the photo shoot to interview family members, giving both the young and old a voice in what is most meaningful to you. This isn’t about having a pretty picture but about creating something powerful, meaningful and genuine. We capture the resilience of you and your family–your Rising Phoenix within.
If you’re not sure how to identify your family’s legacy, it would be an honor to help you discover, capture and celebrate it with our unique FIORIA Legacy Experience. Your experience starts with our Signature Discovery Call.
Schedule Your First Discovery Call by filling out our Inquiry Form. We are so excited to take you on an unforgettable journey.
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How to Identify Your Legacy by Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan and Disney’s Photo Mom