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Monday, July 27, 2009

Heirloom Cradle

In my husband's family you will find a group of devout "savers."  They have (and still use) great grandma's recipes and grandpa's tools, an uncle's woodworking projects and cousins' photographs.  Sentimental things quietly decorate their shelves and drawers.  My own family isn't like this.  Some special things have been saved, an old quilt or a trunk from my Grandpa, but in all reality, it is not much.  We seem to value organization over sentimentality - a choice that keeps our homes less cluttered, but deprives us of the tangible memories that "things" have.  
My favorite of my husband's family treasures is an old cradle.  All of my children have spent the first four months of their little lives sleeping in this very special heirloom.  It originally belonged to their Great-great grandmother (did you catch that?  TWO greats), and we are sure that "Great-Nina Grace" slept in it along with some of her siblings.  Since then, it has held their grandfather, great uncles and aunts, their daddy, uncle, and many cousins.  It has gone through a few changes; being painted green by their Grandpa right before Uncle Herbie was brought home from the hospital, and then stripped back to it's natural color again by my husband when we were eagerly awaiting our daughter.  What a fun heritage to share!  

This cradle has been living in our home for the past 6 years.  It stays right beside my bed when they are little so that I can poke my hand or foot out from under the covers to gently rock them back to sleep if they begin to fuss at night (putting off the inevitable middle of the night feeding).  I love the way it looks, I love the easy access it gives me to my babies, but most of all I simply love it's solid link to so many happy memories.  

Our little one is now 3 months old, and very close to the "able to roll over" stage in which we usually move them to a crib.  She has been sleeping through the night since she was 7 weeks old, so she really doesn't need to be in our room anymore, but I hate to let this stage end.  It is just so precious to be able to listen to your child's gentle breathing at night.  
One day I will need to let this cradle move not only out of my room, but out of our house.  On to a cousin or my sweet sister-in-law when she and her husband decide that it is time to start their family.  It will be a wonderful and sad day.  Wonderful because passing things on is what heirlooms are all about, but sad because it won't be here in my house reminding me of just how long and exhausting those first few months of my babies lives seem, but how quickly they pass.  Reminding me that many of those babies who slept there are now parents, or grandparents - or more - and my babies will one day be so too.  

I hope and pray that this cradle eventually makes it's way back to my own children when they start their families.  That they will be able to sit beside it rocking their little ones and thinking that their own mommy did the exact same thing a generation ago, realizing just how precious the time with their own little infant is.  I look forward to the time when they can add their own stories to the ones of our family.  

New beginnings mixed with old memories are a great combination to pass on to the next generation. 

1 comment:

Doris said...

Such a beautiful blog and story to pass down along with the cradle.
It is so wonderful to have something to pass down from generation to generation.