A part of my mother came home to me today. My brother-in-law stormed up my driveway in a large, heavy-duty, utility truck. He and my son off-loaded various items from my parents’s estate. The one that most tugged at my heartstrings was a hope chest that my grandfather made --as family lore goes -- for my mother, long before she was ever married. He did not live to see her wedding day, but that piece of his heart remained intact and her’s to take into her new life.
Now my mother is gone and I find stray bits of her that surround me and bring me solace in everyday life. There are mostly things she made me with her hands. Shawls and blankets and scarves and mitten and quilts. She was a gifted artisan and I see more clearly than ever how her creativity was passed on to both my sister and me.
Her mother, my grandmother, used to say that it was most important to value the tools, not the product. With that in mind, I was grateful to receive a long, narrow box. Filled with my grandmother's knitting needles. She, like my mother, was an expert knitter.My heart does a little flip-flop now when I walk into my bedroom. There, at the foot of the bed, my mother's beloved hope chest; my grand-father’s painstakingly crafted gift to my mother has come to spend time with me. The time will come when it will make its move on to the home of one of my children. Along with my grandmother’s knitting needles and my mother’s sweaters and blankets. And, I suspect, a few samples of my own needlework. We are a family rich in heritage. The value of this heritage is priceless; that which is made in love offers a legacy greater than its intrinsic worth.
|Hope Chest circa 1935|