Friday, June 13, 2008

Things Remembered

Today is my daughter's birthday and although she's now a grown woman with children of her own, in my heart she's still my little girl. She always will be.
A couple weeks ago, while Hubby was cleaning out the garage, he came across a box of clothes that had belonged to my daughter when she was probably between the ages of 4 and 6. I'd given away the other things as she'd outgrown them, but the garments in that box are very special and hold precious memories, which is why I'd kept them. My daughter's grandmother hand-made most of those clothes for her. Grandma passed away a few months ago, so the box of handmade things is even more of a treasure to our family now. I knew I had saved those clothes, but hadn't remembered where we had stored them. No doubt, the box had been shuffled around during the years, so its whereabouts went undetected for a long time.
When I opened the box and looked inside, the memories came flooding back. There was the little pink corderoy pant suit my daughter wore for picture day in second grade. She had long flowing hair back then and the sweetest smile. I found a blue dress with pink flowers that my mother had given her for her third Easter. I have a picture of her standing by one of my mother's flower beds, wearing that little dress. There was a long pink satin dress I'd made for her to wear for a family wedding, in which she and her cousin were flower girls. There was also a red calico dress and white pinafore which I'm sure was worn at Christmas time. Grandma made that dress, but I made the pinafore. I'd also made a dress and pinafore for my niece. There were many dresses and vests, and a couple of jackets - always matching - that Grandma had made. My daughter and her cousin were the only grandchildren in the family for a few years, and they were only five months apart in age, so Grandma always tried to make the same thing for each girl and most of the time their outfits were identical.
When I reached the bottom of the box, I found two pairs of tiny baby shoes and one tiny blue and red canvas shoe. I don't know where the mate is or why I saved the one. I do tend to save more things than I should, but I was glad I'd saved those. I don't really know why, but I was. It's hard to remember when my grandkids were small enough to wear tiny shoes, let alone my daughter. But holding those shoes brought back all the memories. I washed the clothes and hung them on hangers in the closet in the guest room, which had been my daughter's bedroom. As I was hanging them up, I was thinking how appropriate that the clothes had "come home", since they had hung there before being outgrown and stored in a box.
While at my daughter's home for family dinner the other night, I mentioned I'd found the box with handmade clothes in it and before I could ask my daughter if she'd like to have it, she said "I'll take it!". I was very happy she wanted it but I hadn't been sure that she would. She's not as much of a saver as I am. She's much more realistic and practical than her mother. But saving family "treasures" is a part of who I am and what I do. My daughter wisely gets rid of those things she and her family no longer use or need. Not so with me....I tend to save those items which evoke sweet memories. It's as if I don't trust that I'll be able to remember times and events without having something tangible with which to remind myself.
If I hadn't kept all those things, would I be able to remember the sweet smell of my daughter as a newborn? Would I still be able to picture how cute she looked in those clothes which had been made just for her? Would I remember how proud Grandma was when she saw her granddaughter wearing those clothes? I'm sure the answer to each question would be 'yes', but for me, there's something about holding those things in my hands and being able to SEE the loving stitches in each item. I love being able to pick up those little shoes and hold them close to me and remember that my now grown daughter had actually once been that tiny.
Perhaps I'm overly sentimental, but I was happy to have found those clothes again and thankful my daughter had been blessed with a Grandma who loved to make things for her. My daughter never doubted that her Grandma loved her, but she will now have some handmade garments by which to be reminded every time she looks at them or holds them. I hope she and her children will have fun looking through the box and remembering Grandma.
Happy Birthday will always be my little girl. Love you!

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