Wednesday, May 29, 2013

For the Next Generation....

Posts are piling up in my que like dead wood in an old growth forest these days - at this point there are at least ten languishing there waiting for me to discern their fate . If I should expire any time soon I think that one of the Sistas' is going to have a hey-day deciding which ones should be edited for the sake of the innocent (rants, tantrums and blasts may be therapeutic to write but truly are better off not published) and which could be potentially healing or at least entertaining for those who would be stepping into my shoes. This one makes the cut today because I want it and it's partner to be included in the January to June 2013 hard copy of the blog I hope to be printing next week - and if there is any method to madness that is it. 
 
But on to the post..........
This beautiful house is the home I grew up in.  For 40 years it has been the place where my mom and dad, brothers and sister, extended and expanded family have always gathered.  We have had weddings and wakes, graduations, celebrations and just plain life there season in and season out.  Within our small Washington community it has always been a 'hub' - the sort of place where the neighborhood Christmas party or the grade school garage sale is always held.  The yard big enough to hold the graduation picnic with enough space inside in case it rained.  It was never the cleanest house or the fanciest.   It was decorated to suit ourselves not the latest fashion or the trends of the larger world and it absolutely reflected the history of who our family was.



Looking at the photos I can feel it.  It wasn't necessarily like this when my parents bought it.  it was much more fussy -at least to my eye - which was all of 5 at that time. Over the past years the endless pots of tea at a small round table, the dark solid weight of the things in the house, the people, the lives and the history have meshed together to create an innate  emotional stability for me that is almost beyond understanding.  A core type of confidence that isn't linked to the place any more because its become an organic part of me - so real that I was able to help my mom pack things up last week without an overwhelming sense of sadness. 

Having experienced it so clearly I believe this is a particular sense of peace which I may be able to create for my children....it comes from the touch stones of connectedness in daily life and a sense of place. In knowing that we are not adrift in the world - lost and unknown. It comes with a commitment to history and the healthy stories of family and friends that keep memories alive.   As I walked through my mothers house and considered what to bring back to Minnesota and add to the connectedness links of my own family I was surprised by what I learned.....

My heart leapt at the mirror in the hall. Each time I came into this home and every time I left - this mirror greeted me.   That beveled glass was special - not possible to take with me - but something to consider adding for my own children....because it affirms that they are here every time they look.

The little African boy - maybe three inches high.  He sat on the shelf in the corner of our dining room my entire life.  My mom bought him in England before meeting my dad and he has traveled with her ever since.  I love the way he feels in my hand - I love how beautiful he is - I have loved him for years.  He is precious to me as the mom to five boys who's history reaches back into Africa - a place my own doesn't go. He links my history and my childrens in a way that is special to me...

Some things were easy, civil war horns, photo albums, pipes and horse brasses.  The chiming mantle clock, and the Asian textiles.  Special books and toys - hat pins and those wacky glass cups that the neighbor bought shrimp cocktail in at the meat market and then passed over to us....the American and the British flags that we hung side by side from our front porch.  Eight boxes we shipped home full of the smell and the feel and the heart of the home I grew up in.

In the end it felt right.  They were not the 'valuable' things. Or those that others might claim.  They were the ones that spoke to my heart and made me smile.  Tomorrow or later tonight I will post on their arrival here and the response to them.........physical memory passed from one generation onto the next - intentional - purposeful - layer upon layer of identity changing hands and doing what should happen in a healthy way.  Blessing the next generation with the positive message of you are worthy...you are precious...you have a story stretching back through your parents and grandparents and great-grandparent and stretching forward through your own future....regardless of if your are biological or adopted...this is your story.  These are your things.  These are your core if you are willing to let it settle in and become a part of who you are....because you are a part of us.

 








1 comment:

AKBrady said...

So much of the fabric in this family's tapestry is mine, my families, and our neighbors'. We all grew up in that house, and we all share the feelings of loss-but-reality as it is packed up and the things inside move on.

The sleepovers outside, the hide-and-seek games in the forested areas, the community gatherings until the wee hours of the morning, the hedge-jumping, bee-catching, delicious moments of childhood; that's all there. I can't think of a better place to grow up, and I can only hope my own kids have the same sort of opportunity.

xo E