Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Heirloom

It was a long, long day Saturday. The kind of day where you're physically worn out but reminded that you are, again, stronger than you think. Before my grandmother had passed she left her dining room furniture set to me. This was no small gift. Sentimental value aside, the pieces were more than I can imagine being able to afford for a long time. The table alone being large enough to comfortably sit ALL of my children around it is a treasure. Extra bonus? The deep, dark, cherry that I've always loved. Maybe I've always loved it because that's what I grew up around visiting my grandma's house. Who knows?

And as the sentimental value goes.... aside from all the childhood memories, family parties, holidays, and laughter shared around the table, aside from that it belonged to my grandmother, I learned it's been in the family for a long time. I found this out as my uncle was helping carry pieces out to the Uhaul truck as he said "I can hear Mom's voice in my head right now "OOOOhh!!"" he said in a voice mimicking grandma's quite well, "Ohh! Careful! That was great Aunt Til's you know!!! STEVEN!"" I hadn't known the furniture had belonged to my great, great aunt as well. It made so much sense that grandma had picked a softy like me, who not only could use the furniture so much with a family the same size that she raised but someone who clings to special heirloom pieces that can be passed on generation to generation.

As I arranged and rearranged pieces, settled china and ceramics into the china cabinet just so, I collapsed in tears. Such a hard year 2008. So many regrets. Wishing I had made the time to visit my grandparents more at the end of their life. I was too busy with things so trivial I can't remember what they were. I can't get that back now and that hits my chest like a knife. I remember very vividly how much they loved me, and that was the unique theme at both of their funeral services which were packed full of people. Every one that knew them felt especially loved by them. Among the grandchildren we all thought we were grandma and grandpa's favorite!

I sit typing at the table, not wanting to move, feeling somewhat connected to them in this moment of reflection.

I think my grandparents would be very pleased to see how the furniture fits into my house. Each piece in a place that fits so perfectly it's as if the house has been waiting for it since it was built. There is a glass flared vase with flowers in the center of the table, something that would be the first thing to catch my grandma's attention and receive comment from if she was to walk in my house right now. The small amout of precious things I have displayed in the china cabinet she'd declare over. I think if they were here for a visit and sitting at the table with me my grandfather would ask me to sit at my piano and play for him. It wouldn't matter that it's the same piece I've played for the last dozen years since I've stopped practicing. He'd still love it just as much.

It's amazing that a few pieces of furniture can transform me into a different time and place. I can't help but desperately wish that I was a kid again sitting in their dining room, and their table, planning on sneaking another chocolate out of the candy dish. Now I'm an adult sitting in my own home, wondering how things changed so much from childhood to now - such a short time. I miss them so much. Yet it's such a comfort to have something of theirs here. Thinking of how much they would like that means a lot to me. Given what kind, generous, loving people they were - something that would mean a lot to them makes me happy.

Love you Grandma and Grandpa.

5 comments:

David said...

I don't think any photo could do justice to the description you penned. Sounds like a marvelous set. Amy and I both love deep dark wood grains, and we will soon need to find a table that will seat us all!

Kristin said...

How blessed you are to own a piece of them.

Just thought you would like to know I'm giving away a sling on my site this week. :-)

Jenn said...

This was a wonderful tribute to your grandparents. I'm so glad you have the table to keep your memories of them alive.

Arizona Bam said...

Great post, Kate. So vivid and heartfelt...

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

sweet post! what an amazing gift :)