Old Aunt Maude
This past week, I slept in a frilly, mostly pink, little girl’s room. While visiting my niece, I was given my great-niece’s room. It is a perfect little girl’s room full of dolls, toys, and stuffed animals. Standing attention on one wall is an old dresser and chest of drawers. Over the dresser is a curved mirror that matches the curves in the headboard. Sleeping in this bed is a great pleasure and irony to me. Growing up, I was never allowed to even touch the bedspread on the bed. This bed was originally in my older sisters’ room.
It was THEIR furniture and I was not to ever, ever, ever come into their room and touch their things. I did go in and jump on the bed several times just to show them that I could not be bossed. I am not sure how they always knew I had been in their room…but I got into an awful lot of trouble from time to time. And now I have been given a room with that same, special, furniture in it. Oh, the memories it summons forth.
I can remember when my oldest sisters got to pick out the furniture and then momma and daddy brought it home. We all thought it was so fancy. It was what they called “French Provincial” back then. Basically white with a lot of gold etching stuff on it. It was girly furniture and my older sisters used it for years. We had lots of fun in their room growing up.
One of the greatest things we inherit from our families is memories. Sure, we inherit stuff, but we also inherit memories, attitudes, morals, and points of view. Getting together with family is one of the best things to happen in the summer. We all scream and hug, eat, visit and start remembering. The older ones can answer some of the younger ones’ questions such as: “Did my mom wear a lot of makeup when she was younger?” or “Was my dad really a nerd in high school?” The younger ones remind the older ones of times gone by. Of times, when they were once squeamish from an old auntie’s kiss.
We all have a favorite sister, uncle, or other relative who have given us good advice, smiled when we needed it, or pointed us in the right direction. They are part of our inheritance. Most of us also have a crabby aunt, uncle, or other relative which we would rather not remember. And, their memories are also part of our inheritance. We often learn how to deal with life’s problems through our memories of how others dealt with problems.
As we live our lives, we need to be aware that our interactions with others will be stored in their memory banks to become part of their inheritance. So, go ahead and spend the day at the beach with your kids. You can do laundry next week. Go ahead and spend the money on a Nascar weekend or a midnight movie with a teen. Take a day off and go to the nursing home. Talk to some old people. Ask them how life used to be lived. How did they get their names? How many brothers and sisters did they have? Did they go to college? Which one? Why did they become farmers? Did they ever live in a dugout or sod house? Learn something about your own life through their lives.
Take a minute to reflect on the inheritance you are leaving for your kids. Don’t worry so much about the stuff you are leaving behind. Be fun to be with. Make some noise and be outrageous. Be kind. Be compassionate. Get sunburned. Give grace. Thank the Lord for the inheritance your parents, grandparents and other relatives left for you. Continue the tradition.
Be safe as you travel this summer.