Hidden Treasures

One year, when I was an early teenager, we were visiting my grandparents. I remember pulling a box down from a high closest shelf with my grandma and opening its treasures. It was filled with memorabilia from her high school days at a boarding school back east. Assembly bulletins, a calendar filled with squares reading “lunch with Stinky” and other girlfriend dates. We looked through these treasures and she told stories about her friends and schooldays.

Years later, we helped pack up my grandparent’s house – the one they’d lived in for over 40 years. I’m sure that box was thrown out in the shuffle. There came a point in the packing and donating and garage sale-ing that so many things were deemed memorable-but-not-keepable. After 40 years, downsizing can be brutal.

Just a couple years ago, we packed up our own small house and moved into a bigger one, as we anticipated growing our family. I came across a box of journals, but mixed in were also day planners – those books from the days before relying on my calendar app. I sat down and flipped through it: “lunch with Cece;” “Baroque & Rococo paper due;” “day trip to Reims” filled the pages of my years in Paris. “Lunch with Frank” repeated over and over from my planner during our early days of dating.

I was tempted to throw out my old planners – it had been years since I’d last looked through them – but the memories came back fresh and I imagined one day pulling this box out for a granddaughter and reminiscing over these hidden memories again.

Are you a saver? Do you like to keep bits of memorabilia or do you purge and remain minimalist?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “hidden.”

When I’m 90

We just got back from a weekend in California celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday. All seven of her kids, most of her grandkids, and many of her great-grandkids gathered for the occasion. Kids ran wild, adults laughed and caught up, and we ate lots of delicious food. The party itself was a beautiful testament to the life my grandma has led, but one of my favorite moments was the night before, at a family dinner.

At my wedding
At my wedding

Rather than a traditional blessing before the meal, my aunt asked each of the siblings to share ways in which my grandma has blessed them. Descriptors like caring, servant, unconditional love, intentional focus, ability to make each kid and grandkid feel special, open hospitality, love of God, family, community, and neighbors… The list was extensive and words described a woman who truly lived out the idea of loving God and neighbors first.

I’ve always admired my grandma and wanted to be like her in a vague sense, but hearing these words gave me definite adjectives of how I want my life to look and how I want to be viewed in sixty years. What am I doing right now to make each person in my life feel special, important, and heard? How am I showing open-handed hospitality and grace? How am I living out the message of Christ, rather than simply internalizing it? It’s amazing to see family gathered, values passed on through generations, and the legacy she and my grandfather so intentionally built.

Frank and I were talking about what a privilege it is to have such a model in our lives. I sometimes forget how amazing it is to have a family who gathers without drama, who loves each other and spending time together, and who create open and caring communities as a matter of habit. I’m thankful that this was a norm for me and it will continue to be a norm for my kids.

Who is your role model for what you hope life looks like at ninety?