Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What We Inherit

97 years ago, a little baby entered this world, into the hands of her father, in the middle of a blizzard that prevented the doctor from attending her arrival. She grew and grew up and became a wife, then a mother. Sixty years, nine months and eight days after that snowy birthday, my own birth made her a grandmother for the fifth time.

I grew and grew up, just as she did. I spent my childhood in her care, under her feet, around her house. I her some of her stories (though never enough of them) and told her many of mine. I learned how to be a lady and how to work an iron and how to be grateful for what I have.

For almost 36 years, I inherited her married name. When I was a young woman, I inherited a box of family photos to treasure. I inherited an ability to soften the edges of a house and transform it into welcoming home. I've taken myself to task, and through much trial and error, forced myself to inherit the skill of not killing every green living thing I plant in dirt.

From her, I learned the love that can be conveyed through a gentle touch. By her, I was taught to get the housework done properly.

I use her words regularly. "Tell them to go pound sand." "Don't borrow trouble." "Don't put off til tomorrow what should get done today."

I see pieces of her, living still, in who I am today. My memories are rich with her presence. This is the greatest inheritance she could have left me: Those simple life lessons, those days spent in her kitchen, and a box of old photos to treasure.

For the days I want to write but need that extra push, and, just as much, for the days when the prompt inspires me, all on its own, whether I need extra motivation or not.

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