Tuesday, April 17, 2007

maw-maw's china

i have been a busy girl, y'all. and who knows what all i have been doing--i have just been too busy to write, and that's all i can tell ya. the house is still full of boxes that appear to be multiplying as i unpack them. however, as of last night, i actually finally feel like i am starting to make a teeny tiny bit of headway, which is good, since we're having a giant housewarming party this weekend. whew! i will NOT be ready! but anyway. i am about to wax sentimental on you, so quit reading right now if you're not in the mood for that sort of thing.

a week or so ago, i had a pretty tremendous time when i unpacked my grandmother's china. now, my grandmother is living, but her mind is just gone, and she can't live on her own anymore. my parents and aunts and uncles agreed to move her into an assisted living community, which means everything in her house was divided as she had wished it to be and given to all the various relatives. i have a few things from her, all of which i love and cherish. but above all, i am still astounded to have this china, which she had always told me she would one day give to me. i admit i thought one of my aunts would keep it. but they didn't. they gave it to me.

i used to, every spring, go through the kitchen with my grandmother, wash everything in all the cabinets, and put it all back. and every spring, the china was my favorite part. this was a gift to her from a wonderful lady for whom my grandparents cared for and for whom they did many many selfless things over a long period of years--she gave it to my grandmother by way of thanks. and in turn, it had been a gift to her from someone further back in her own family. this pattern is so not me, and yet i just adore it for its history and its leagacy of kindness and for the memories it carries for me of my grandmother's kitchen.

when the hippie and i were in our apartment, there was nowhere for the china to live--it's been packed in boxes in the basement for literally years. it was one of the last things i found when we cleaned out the basement. and now, for the first time, it has a home. i took it out of it's boxes, washed every piece, and then put it away in my own cabinets. and i realized that this was the first time i had ever washed it without my grandmother right there by my side. and y'all, let me tell you that it was more than a little emotional. i missed my grandmother so much right then. and i know i will think of her every time i use it. i did use it for the first time on easter surrounded by friends and laughter--the Right Thing. maybe i will get around to finishing out the set someday. and hopefully one day i will be able to pass it on to someone who does me a kindness, too.


Anonymous said...

I cried. miss grandma too. ~pseudo-mom

gray la gran said...

one year, my mom made a big *to do* over not letting anyone help her with the dishes of the fine china. well ... she ended up breaking two pieces, all by herself!
damn. i forgot we did use those plates for easter. shame on me! good thing we only spoiled the tablecloth, and not the china :)

Kristin said...

I have begun this post too many times....I just can't grasp the words I want to say, but I KNOW how you feel. Those little moments that remind you of someone you miss desperately are heartwrenching. The way they just sneak up on you and trigger such raw emotion are awful and reassuring at the same time. In those moments I miss my mom so intensely, but am comforted by the overwhelming feeling that she is with me at that precise moment.....almost as if she arranged the whole thing. NOW I'm crying. I LOVE your china.

Amy M said...

this post is like an emotional sucker punch for the week I've been having.
i need to just step away from the computer.
kel's g-ma is in the same state, and somehow we ended up with a ceramic bird, weird candle holders and other knick knacks.

Anonymous said...

maw maw would be thrilled to know how much the china means to you, and happy about all the good times that will take place in your house, over the dinner table. i, too, have so many memories of your grandmother, even dating back to us playing in the trailer that they had when your grandfather was still alive - take care, love kimmie

jackie said...

thanks for all the thougts and empathy, people. good to know other people can relate to the maudlin things as well as the happy ones.