Thanks Shutterfly for sponsoring this post.
The other evening family came in town for a way too short visit. And isn’t that a great sign? When company leaves and your family lets out a collective sigh, “That was way to short of a visit.” My aunt, her husband and son had never seen our home so after a dinner of inexpensive pizza and salad, I gave them a tour. As I was showing off our home, I realized something, I wasn’t showing them just my home, I was showing them pieces of my heart in my past and present.
Sitting at the dinning room table the first thing my aunt noticed…because she has a heart for all things old and well loved, was a window hanging on the wall. “Oh, I love your window!” She exclaimed. I told her it was from my grandpa and grandma’s house. As we began the tour, we walked into the front room and there in the corner is an old camp light that I found in my grandparent’s dilapidated RV…sitting behind a barn on their place dying a very slow death. It hasn’t been moved in so long Chris laughs the tires are turning into dirt. Walking through the living room, on top of the bookcase sits a collage my dad had made for me of various sights that remind me of my grandparent’s. It sits right next to some old mason jars we brought up from their scary cellar. And in front of it, an old crock from that same scary cellar. My aunt commented on the old table sitting in the corner of the living room. I sit there in the mornings when I read my Bible…it was my grandparent’s first table, spruced up and distressed with bright red paint. And in front of the French doors, a large plant I brought home from my grandpa’s funeral.
As we turned into the hallway, there’s a collage I made with some of the first pictures I ever took after realizing I needed a hobby. In case of fire I would seriously consider grabbing that collage I made with Shutterfly. Standing at the door, looking into my bedroom my aunt noticed the large, framed Wedding Ring quilt pieces hanging on my wall. “Did those come from your grandma too?” she asked. “No, my great grandma.”
One day while looking through my grandma’s fabric stash, I found an old quilt top. She told me it belonged to my great grandma, my grandpa’s momma. Surprisingly, my grandma gave to me; she never parted with anything, especially fabric. I took it home with the intention of pulling out the sewing machine and quilting it with a pretty flannel backing. That never happened and wasn’t going to happen anytime soon if ever. I had a friend separate as many rings as she could–the material was old and fragile in places. I ended up with four large rings. I kept two and had them framed and gave two to my sister.
My bed was all decked out and made in one of my favorites quilts, a red and cream colored one my grandpa cut the material for and my grandma sewed and quilted. Peeking into each of the kids rooms she saw even more quilts made by my grandparents. The bathroom has a little shelf above the mirror where I have a few decorative things, including an old handkerchief from my mother in law.
Walking around the farm, I could tell stories of when the dairy barns were used. I could also tell the story of when the old man who was born and lived here his entire life, died, his wife had sold all the dairy cattle by the next week. She was done milking cows and washing bottles! I could find the initials carved into a beam of the barn by one of the daughters who lived here…until they moved and now I’m raising my daughters (and sons) here. I could tell you when the silos stopped being used and when the top blew off one of them a couple of years back.
A piece of my heart will always be at my grandparents–their little farm and country ways formed me, held me safe in a tumultuous childhood and let me be a child. But my home and little farm here, it holds my heart now, partly because it holds my children and husband. You can see it in the worn path to the chicken coop and barns. You can see it in the trails through the pasture made by the four wheelers. You can see it in my own children’s initials on various posts and beams in the barns and imprinted in the concrete pads poured when I only knew five of my children–the other two not even born yet.
If our company would have stayed long enough, Leo would have gotten out his baby book I made at Shutterfly. I love that seeing his past–all four years of it–and seeing his grandpa who he’s named for but will never know, is one of his most favorite books.
P.S. I started writing this post in my head the other night after our company left. Then I was offered the chance to work with Shutterfly and I knew this post was meant for that opportunity. And tonight, Chris came home from his dad’s with a grocery sack full of pictures of us–engaged, our wedding day, newly married, 1 child, 2 children…and over and over my kids kept telling me, “Mom, you really need to start printing pictures! We’re not gonna sit around the computer to look at old pictures the way we’re sitting around the dinning room table looking at these pictures.” Y’all, I’m going to budget a certain amount of money to order prints each month. It’s important to my children so it’s important to me. And it’s not just prints, Shutterfly has all sorts of personalized products to keep our memories and those of our children: home décor, photo gifts, photo books and cards and stationery.
*One year we made a photo mug for my in-laws for Christmas. Every single year since then…EVERY, my father in law has photo mugs made! Honestly, at this rate, if not already, photo cups will be his only drinkware!