Boxes, so many boxes,
full of a lifetime of living and loving.
My dad passed away in 2000 at the age of 69,
leaving my 65 year old mother
alone at what was to be their retirement golden years.
It hasn't been easy for her.
In the last few weeks, my sister and I
have had the bittersweet experience
of placing my mom in an assisted living facility.
just isn't what it needs to be
to live a safe daily life.
And so the decision was made,
with mom agreeing, to give it a try.
As we were planning what needed to be packed
to move her from her 3500 square foot house
to a 500 square foot apartment,
she knew she wouldn't be coming back.
She decided she wanted my siblings
and me to go ahead and start packing up
all the things we were supposed to inherit
and anything else we wanted.
I suppose ~
it was her way of disconnecting
from what used to be her life.
Through the years she has marked items
with post it notes, written on the backs of pictures,
put stickers under collectibles ~
preparing for what lay ahead.
None of us thought mom would be there,
watching us pack up her life ~
all the while telling us about each piece
and its family significance.
Wondering what's inside this worn out box?
All the family recipes shared over the years
from both my grand mothers,
aunts, cousins, friends
and of course my mom.
I love the hand written recipes ~
some of them 60 years old or older.
The traditional pumpkin bread recipe passed down
through three generations
or my grandmother's apple butter
wouldn't taste the same
without using the flour sifters
or galvanized sieve my mom used to use.
Then there's all the vintage aluminum!
I love it and have collected some of my own over the years.
My mom broke the handle on the cake save back in the fifties ~ so my grand father took it out to his workshop and replaced it with an old glass drawer pull! I don't care if it is dented or banged up....I'd keep it over a sterling silver one any day!
She was adamant
that she did not want family heirlooms
to remain in the house with no one home.
And so I sit here tonight
looking at stacks of boxes
filling up my dining room and living room.
Buttons from 50 years of marriage,
Marbles from my grand fathers and my father,
Clay marbles found during construction of the 1996 Olympic buildings in downtown Atlanta that date back to the mid 1800's!
My mother and both my grand mothers saved things ~
Can you imagine having a silver plate urn full of cigarettes
and a fancy lighter on your coffee table?
My parents didn't even smoke,
except for the occasional pipe my dad smoked.
I guess it was just cool to have on
display during that "Mad Men" era,
just in case a neighbor stopped by for a cigarette!
They have been stored away for decades!
Some of my fathers items
had been left untouched in his workshop.
It was like a time warp.
So I picked up some of his little tools
and packed them in a metal box and a cigar box....
~ "things" he held and touched and used often.
I will do something special with them at some point,
but for now, the boxes hold them for me.
Every time we would have a family dinner,
mom would serve the food in her collection
of depression glass bowls,
from both sides of our family.
She would tell us about Grand mama's Heisy bowl,
or the Fostoria pieces or Sandwich Glass ~
~ or my grand mother's spooner or the Fenton hobnail mustard pot.
She grew up using them and they were precious to her,
just as they are precious to me now.
~ and so
there are many treasures
and many blog posts to share in the future.
It has been an emotional time moving mom,
but in the last few days as
I have unpacked just some of the boxes,
I am overwhelmed with the fact that these "things",
represent my life, my parents, my family.
Mom's short term memory is failing,
but she still remembers a lot from the past.
I hope and pray that she doesn't lose all her memory.
I will pay special attention and intently listen
to the same stories I've heard over and over again...
as one day, they may not be there!
And then these boxes,
full of memories,
will be all there is!
Boxes, so many boxes ~
full of a lifetime of living and loving!
Live your AUTHENTIC life ~ be the REAL you!