I don't want to force you to be sentimental, but there's something whimsical about letting one's mind wander to the past to dwell there (with rose colored glasses, of course) for a moment or two.
On Mother's Day it seemed fitting to my sentimental self to use my grandmother's china for our brunch. Have I told you the story about how it came to be mine? Let me tell you. Several years ago, after both of my maternal grandparents had passed away, my mom and aunt were going through their home, sorting possessions and reminiscing. They came across a very carefully packed and labeled box (my Noni was a devoted labeler), and when they opened it, they were in for a surprise.
So was I, but I didn't know it until a few months later on my birthday. A large package was placed before me and with it a card with my grandmother's handwriting: "This set of dishes to be given to our first grandchild that gets married. Packed: Sept. 1977." I was two. And I ended up being the first one to marry.
It was overwhelming and extremely touching to picture her adding to the set, wondering who would end up using it. She never knew. I was only eight when she died. (Although I do like to think that she gets a glimpse every now and then of her great grandchildren eating Sunday scones on the pretty white plates and sipping tea from the dainty, silver-rimmed tea cups.)
Because it was Mother's Day, I couldn't stop with just one burst of sentiment. I had to include as many grandmothers as I could. So I whipped out another tea cup, this one given to me by my paternal grandmother -- my Nanee, whom I am blessed to see about once a year -- and placed it above my plate. Jamie's grandmother left us a set of crystal goblets that we included, adding a sparkling charm to our brunch. I was surrounded by a sweet, quiet heritage of maternal pride and elegance.
It was special to point these things out to my children, as I often do. To say, "Let's use the Noni china" or "How about the Grandma Fern glasses today?" To add a history to each piece, to keep the names special and familiar, even with those whom they never met.
We don't need fancy items -- or any items at all, really -- to be sentimental. We can bring up stories and memories as our children grow and "become." Even today, as Aidan took apart a fan to clean it (for fun, curiosity, and just because he likes to help) I said, "You remind me so much of your Papa when you help me like that, Aidan!" I was linking his actions to a hero, to a heritage that I want him to be proud of and one day pass on to his own children.