Everyone knows I am a simple girl. Born and raised the last child of 8 in Oregon. My family was and is to this day ridiculously close. We didn't have much when I was a child, I got hand me down clothes until I was old enough to work during the summer to buy my own, we didn't go on vacations, BUT we had something most family's don't, we were rich in love.
We had taco night, everyone in the kitchen and I mean 8 kids, some had husbands, wife's, girlfriend and boyfriends, my parents, it was loud as hell, chaotic, you could hardly move around, but we all had a job, cut the tomatoes, cook the meat, whatever we all did something. We would laugh, pick fun, tease, but most importantly we were together. To this day when I make tacos I think of my family taco night. My parents were not educated people, neither of them graduated from high school, but they were smarter than anyone I've ever met. They knew what was important and although I didn't know it at the time, when I reflect now, I know I am the person I am today because of them.
With that said it's important to me that I pass that quality down to my children and my grandson. I don't have much, and I certainly don't have anything worth anything (monetarily) to pass to them but every single day I try to ensure they know how much I love them, how important family is, I tell them stories about my family, my memories, and I show them things I do have that are cherished.
When my grandmother was nearing the end of her life she asked me if there was anything she had that I wanted. My grandmother had been married 5 times but I always considered Russell as my grandfather, I always loved staying at their house as a child and when he died I was devastated. So I asked her for something he gave her, maybe a piece of jewelry or something. She indicated that she didn't have anything from him anymore but I could have her mother's ring and she took it off her finger and handed it to me. I don't have to tell you how important that was to me. Years later I was in Oregon visiting my family and I was rummaging through my sister Liz's jewelry box and I saw this old ring that was broken. It appeared that it had been cut off someones finger. I asked her about it and she said it was grams wedding ring to Russell she gave it to me years ago. I tried to hide my sadness but deep down I was so sad that Gram had given it to someone else.
In October of 2009 three of my sisters and of course my brother Johnny came to Maryland for my 40th birthday. 5 Birch's at my house for the first time I couldn't even imagine how awesome it was going to be. My sister Liz and probably my best friend in the entire world, privately hands me this box and says open it. Do I need to tell you the joy I felt when I opened the box to see the broken wedding ring I so desired. (I gave her the mother's ring so she would have something too) It's still in my jewelry box, in the same case she gave it to me in, and it's still broken but I have it. One day I will have the extra cash to have it repaired and actually wear it but ultimately I have it.
Years ago my mother in law Mickey gave me her mothers (Nana) favorite mantilla. It's black lace, sheer, and absolutely the most beautiful piece of lace I have ever seen. She wore it every week religiously to mass. When Mickey gave it to me I was honored, she couldn't even imagine how special this gift was to me. Nana was an amazing woman, she was short, frail, gorgeous and absolutely the kindest person I had ever met. She had this strong sense about her, her accent was charming and she absolutely adored me and my children. She welcomed us all into her family and always made me feel loved. She had this magical way of lighting up a room and bringing joy to everyone in it. It's difficult sometimes to find the perfect place in your home for something with such meaning, somewhere it won't be damaged, somewhere you can admire it daily, somewhere amazing. I stewed about it, I tried this and that and then suddenly it hit me to drape it over my most cherished objects. It was perfect, it was in a safe place but it was where I could look at it and remember her. To this day it's there and it will remain there until the day I take my last breath.
Mr. Paul came to visit this year and when he arrived he took out this zip lock bag and said hey my mom wanted you to have this. As I opened the bag, it was full of tarnished silver spoons, but what I saw were treasures, I saw memories, I saw Nana. I remembered a bowl Mickey had given me years prior that was also silver, so I grabbed it from the cabinet and I put the spoons in it.
Recently I polished them all, I put them in the shinny bowl and I thought about how blessed I am to be trusted with such treasures that were two generations handed down, and how I would hand them down to mine when I am gone. I have already bought three more from my vacations this summer to add to the already amazing collection.
Taco night for me was priceless, family treasures don't have to be expensive, its about the memory, the thought behind the objects, being trusted to safeguard them, what they meant to the person, how they made that person feel. I don't have much, and I am certainly not rich, but I have everything a small town girl from Oregon could ever need.
What do you see?