I don’t know that it’s true for every girl, but my experience has been the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve come to appreciate and treasure my mom and grandmothers. First living on my own, then learning (present tense!) to be the kind of wife my husband can be proud of, and now as a parent and the keeper of our home, I find myself increasingly re-visiting their habits, traditions, rhythms of daily life.

My mom, my grandmothers, my aunts — each is a uniquely different model of strong, smart, Godly womanliness, and I’m fortunate to know them. Recently, I’ve had a chance to reflect back on the life of my mother’s mother and appreciate her attitudes and accomplishments. It was our first holiday without her, and I missed her.

Even though she’d been ill for many years, I learned from her until the very end. Whether identifying a particular plant from my yard or encouraging me to cherish and serve my husband, she was a living example of a Titus 2 woman.

So, as we gathered in Jackson for Thanksgiving, she was missed (as was her husband, my Poppa, who dined with friends in Birmingham). But, she was present. It was her recipe for dressing that we enjoyed with our meal (key ingredient: sage) and her hand-stitched tablecloth on our table.

When we returned to Birmingham and I unpacked all of our Christmas boxes, I found a trove of her Christmas decorations, given to me when I first moved to town. It’s her tree skirt around our tree and her vintage matchbooks that light our candles.

I proudly use her 1949 Singer sewing machine, and it works as well today as I’m sure it did the day Poppa first bought it for her. Her sewing kit is so extensive that in two years of sewing projects, only last week did I have to purchase my first spool of thread. Every time I open it, I smile — it carries a scent that is exactly as I remember her.

All that to say, one of the things I so appreciate about the women ahead of me in years and wisdom — and something I want to be intentional about fostering — is the legacy of that which is shared and passed down.

Recipes, handmade quilts, letters, plants (plants from both of my grandmothers’ yards make their home in our garden here in Birmingham), lives that have been lived cheerfully in the service of others — I am now the beneficiary of these things into which they chose to invest their time.

It’s an encouraging example, as FCL and I try to create unique traditions for our new little family. The temptation to live frenetically is great, the busy-ness of life crowding out the gentler pace of things that require time; it is oh so helpful to have living and tangible reminders in my life and home of the lifestyle I want to cultivate, the kind of woman I want to be.

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