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Reach out and touch …

Oldest boy popped in with the grand-kids one night last week.  What a sweet surprise!  There’s nothing lovelier than seeing his beaming face as they wrap their tiny arms around my neck or call out, “Nana!”

Little MJ, now 2, has a mind of her own. She follows big brother around like the shadow she is and wants to try everything he does.  So when he happened to notice my little collection of curio items, she stopped to have a look, too.

Now, it’s not like they’ve never been here. There’s just been other things to play with.. and we’ve been outside a lot.  There’s part of me that probably should have put these items up and away. But .. I haven’t. And I don’t think I will.

See I think it’s important that they learn to how to carefully handle such delicate items as they look at them in wonder. I did. I remember treasures displayed in my grandparents’ houses and I remember being told to be careful. And I was.

Miss M.J. "discovering" Nana's music boxes and trinkets

It’s important that not everything be childproofed because the world .. isn’t. I think it’s just as valuable that they learn how to navigate in it, how to hold something fragile in their tiny hands and how not to be reckless.

Just like my Grandma’s or Nana’s homes, my house is comfortable but lived in.  Our furniture is functional and well used.   There are no obvious dangers, cleaning supplies are up and away. But a few delicate items are on display because they mean something to me and I like to see them.

See that blue porcelain dish she’s examining?  A former boss brought it to me all the way from Russia.  It’s even inscribed in Russian. Neat.

That little tea pot just behind her right hand? That’s from my sappiest of sisters.  The one who sends cards infused with sentimental messages that make me cry, decorated with flowers, kittens and sparkles.

There are tea sets, music boxes and figurines and all of them – every single one  – mean something to me.

But the sweetest one of all is that little metal dish in the lower left corner, see the one with the green ball on the lid?   That’s MJ’s favorite and mine as well.  Why?  Because that – that was my Nana’s and she passed it on to me.  It’s a music box from pre-WW II days and yes it still works.  I don’t know the name of the tiny little song that plays but I do know this … I remember carefully holding it in my hands when I was just a girl. I remember being oh so thrilled to wind the key and the delight that followed when that familiar tune plinked away. I’ve had it with me since she passed away… 39 years now.

And someday, little MJ,  her brother and any future grandchildren will inherit my little collection of music boxes & trinkets.  And they won’t have to wonder what they are or where they came from.  They’ll already know.

How about you? Do you have special treasures that take you back to a certain time & place?  And … do you share them?

 * * *

How will our children know who they are if they do not know that from which they came?


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Categories: Faith, Family, Friendship, Fun, Gratitude, Growth, Joy, Life, Opinion, Relationships, Thoughts, Women | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Reach out and touch …

  1. Oh, MJ, this is such a meaningful post. I was reminded of my Grandmother’s snow dome. Unlike the plastic ones of today, this one was made of glass. And, as a child, I was allowed to hold it – ever so carefully. I was taught how precious it was to her and how it should be handled.
    Thanks for the memory. I’m sure your grandchildren will have wonderful memories of their grandmother too!

    • Thank you, Dianna. Meaningful is the sentiment I was trying to evoke. My Grandmother F. had a few snow globes, too, and some were plastic and a few were made of glass. Just thinking of them takes me back to those moments of pure childlike wonder.
      Cheers! MJ

  2. So beautifully said!! Trinkets, pictures, stories, china…the china especially is fun to use when we sit down for a meal because the kids feel like it’s so-o special, even if it’s just boxed mac and cheese and with apple juice in a tea cup.

    • Yes, you are spot on as usual. I remember my mother letting us use some of her “fancy” glassware at holiday meals and feeling so honored to be included, sipping my ginger ale from a delicately stemmed cut crystal glass. And, to your point, boxed mac & cheese on a special plate is magical to a wee child. Thanks for “getting” it. MJ

  3. When my folks moved off of the family farm a few years ago they had several buildings full of stuff that I spent a childhood playing with, or being around. Old tools, gadgets, and inside the house…more stuff. I ended up taking more than I should have…but I couldn’t bear the thought of it ending up in the dump. Some of them are antiques, though most hold memories of a fond past, like grandpa takcle box, or dad’s tools, etc. I’ve placed them in my “man-garage” for all to see & handle. My girls could care less at this point of their lives. But I love looking at them everyday. Great post J.
    R

    • Oooh I am so happy to know you kept such treasures. They’re priceless .. and having a chance to see them and know why they’re important to you will, I’m sure, make them important to your girls one day.

      When I walk into my Dad’s “shop” I still expect to see him in there, putzing around and ready to weld something. Cheers, MJ

  4. (continued) Mom is still giving me stuff for our girls when they’re older. I sadly take them and hold onto the “things” for a later date. Happy to have them….meloncholy at the experience.

  5. I think I will treasure my Grandmother’s emails and blog posts. I am always reminded of her when I see owls, too, for some reason she collected them. My other Grandmother sewed me a beautiful heavy blanket that I will treasure, too.

    Wonderful post, adorable grandgirl.

    • Love that you have the emailing/blog connection .. and owls and cozy blankets, too. Those are the treasures I’d run into a burning house after.

      and yes, she is most adorable 🙂 MJ

  6. Aw man, little MJ!!!!! So precious. All I have around here are boisterous destructive boys. I hope I am a Grandma to a little Caroline one day 🙂 My Mom was rewarded for having two girls by now having three grandsons. You are very blessed as are they to have such a wonderful Nana.

    • I know! She’s just …. delicious. I adore my boys and have never been around a little girl and this is very fun. And her big brother is a charmer, too. I am so lucky and those two? They make my heart sing. Cheers! MJ

  7. So sweet! I love the photo! And I like your observation that life is not child-proofed. I look around and think about Riley being in my house. She hasn’t been here since she started walking, they visited us last at Christmas. But I see from being in her house that I would need to do a bit of work! Still, I agree that not everything should be put away, they have to be able to explore and learn about some things…a good reminder that it’s good to have little hands become familiar with family treasures, anticipating the time in the future when the things will be passed down to the next generations.

    Thank you for sharing your sweet little one!

    Sheila

    • absolutely, that’s it. The thing is, I know that someone has to be with them (probably me) when they’re in my house exploring new things. And … I want Nana’s house to be someplace they look forward to going – a place of orange floats, straws in their drinks (A., her brother, loves that I always have straws!), special treats and magical treasures … like music boxes to wind and marvel at.

      I look forward to seeing a post about wee Riley visiting your home soon 🙂 MJ

  8. We are definitely of a similar mind. At the end of a long cleaning-day-Saturday, when I was very pregnant, a friend dropped in with her two small children. Overwhelmed, she had moved everything out of their reach at their house, so they naturally thought everything they could see and touch was theirs for the taking. That included items in the lower cabinets drawers, houseplants, pictures, etc. As I stood in my wrecked house my friend said, “You are going to have to move all of these things before your child is born.”
    “I don’t intend to move anything,” I replied, and I didn’t. My philosophy was and is that it was my responsibility to teach him what he could and couldn’t handle, so that when I took him to other peoples’ houses, they wouldn’t have the kind of mess that I was looking at. As you say, the world isn’t child proof and tiny minds are quick to learn. And what a joy to pass down not only the music box and tea set, but the memory of handling it so gently knowing Nana trusted them. It will make it so special for them.

    • Ooh … awesome, Mama Bear! Your response was spot on … especially about it being our responsibility to teach them now to navigate. When my oldest boy and I were on our own, he went everywhere with me and could because he had been taught how to “be” in a restaurant, library, church and grocery store.

      I’m hoping that spending the time now to instill these values will ensure that they appreciate and have memories of those times with their Nana, when she trusted them to “be careful” and then they were. Cheers! MJ

  9. How awesome…not awesome in the trite way…but really awe-some, that you have a granddaughter named after you. Do your baby pictures look like her?

    • Well she is the spitting image of our son and she definitely has my curls :). I see some of me in her, and her initials match mine on purpose although her actual first and middle names are different than mine. I love that my boy did that on purpose so she’d have the exact same initials…. he’s thoughtful like that, thank you Georgette, MJ.

  10. What a wonderful story to share. Yes, I have many trinkets to share and I wish my grandsons lived closer so that I might share with them. They don’t and so I treasure them for what they are for me and hope one day they or their children will also treasure them as I have. I have tried to write the historical significance of each.

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