My parents come from humble beginnings. Both children of coal miners on Canada’s Atlantic coast, they grew up with very few material possessions and they carried nothing forward into their adult lives from their family’s past. There was simply nothing to pass forward, except photos and stories. It certainly hasn’t detracted from my life that I don’t have a tangible item to connect me to relatives, but I always loved the notion of the girl wearing her mom’s wedding dress or a boy proposing with his grandmother’s ring. I felt it created a rich family history, connecting generations with a simple lovingly cared for item.
And this is where I get misty. Good grief I’m a sap.
My parents have ensured that my children will have that connection to their past. On my oldest daughter’s first birthday, they passed on to her my childhood table and chair set, lovingly restored by my father. When my youngest turned one, they gave her the wood cradle that I used to rock my dolls in. Both toys have been played with for years now by my girls. With each passing day though, it becomes more apparent to me that soon I will have to tuck them away for their children. I am beginning to look for those two special items of theirs that I will add to it.
When one of my daughters get sick, it is my teddy bear that comforts them. Stored in a cedar chest, with a punched in nose, and matted down fur, it only comes out in emergencies. It is comforting to them because they know it used to comfort me when I was sick.
Finally, there’s the dress.
This Little House on the Prairie-esque style communion dress. For a while after I wore this dress on my First Communion, I played in it as a princess costume. Apparently, I was a very tidy child, as it never got ripped or stained. At some point, my mother thought she’d tuck it away….just in case. And then two of those “just in case’s” came along.
Yup, I’m sitting here with wet eyes and a drippy nose right now. I just love seeing these pictures together and for that I am eternally grateful to my parents for creating a these memories. Items that get passed down through generations, can take, well generations. It’s not an instant gratification kind of thing, but it’s so worth it in the end.
This dress has now been tucked away, alongside two other white gowns. The girl’s baptism gown and my wedding gown. They may decide to use them, they may not, but it’s there for them…..just in case.