I grew up with two older sisters; I’m the baby in the family. And I’ll admit, being the youngest comes with the good and the bad: Growing up, I was left behind during games because I was too young or too little. But, someone would end up spoiling me—typically it was my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, or anyone that could entertain me while I felt excluded.
One thing that is inevitable as the younger child, though, is the hand-me-downs; the six-year-old school jumper, the teal tube top that was cool in 1997 but not so much in 2003, the high heals my sister grew out of in six months, and the list goes on. One of the great things about hand-me-downs is that they have already been figured out; the six-year-old jumper was perfectly worn and hemmed, the teal top had a matching purse and jewelry, and the heels were already broken in. Plus, they had endured the wear of someone else and were made to last.
But we all know there are better things than just clothes, shoes, and purses that can be handed down (although I will always welcome these items). I think of all the other things that have been handed down to me over the years; knowledge, stories, and heirlooms.
The other weekend Eric and I had the pleasure of spending the day with his grandmother. She offered me a hand-me-down—actually, several—but one in particular really touched me. She offered me a water pitcher, this gorgeous glass pitcher that was her grandmother’s. Maybe it’s Eric’s historical influence, but I can’t help but think about the amazing memories this pitcher has been a part of, and what great ones it will experience in the future.
Maybe this is one of the reasons I’ve decided to “inherit” some key home essentials instead of registering for new ones for our wedding. I also think that maybe it’s because I’m the baby and I’m used to things that have been “gently used,” or because I really appreciate items with aged character, or because my mother and father have such a strong appreciation for inherited gifts—but regardless, Eric and I are excited to welcome inherited gifts into our home. And it’s more than just my great-great grandmother’s china and silverware or Eric’s great-great grandmother’s water pitcher; it’s small wood sculptures from Eric’s grandfather, records from both our parents, pictures of family members, and stories that keep the memories passing from generation to generation. These gifts are not just treasured items from the past, but a branch that keeps us in touch with our inheritance and past. And pretty soon I won’t feel like the baby anymore, and I’ll start passing these heirlooms along too.
What are some heirlooms that you’ve received? Is there something you own that will forever have a story attached to it? Is there something that you will start as a hand me down?