"N e w Y e a r ‘ s R e s o l u t i o n s" in my mind’s ear hears that phrase spoken s l o w l y and voiced authoritatively by James Earl Jones. Try thinking it again, but this time with him saying it, and you’ll know what I mean–when he speaks, you just know the man means business.
Five days into the new year, I began working on The 2008 To-Do List (Doesn’t it sound more official with a title? The blasted list deserves a title because it’s a mile long!). These are NOT self-improvement or end-world-hunger-type resolutions, it’s simply a list to keep me focused and productive and will, hopefully in the process, benefit home and family.
ACK!! I’M INTERRUPTING THIS BLOG POST TO SAY "SAVED BY THE FUN MONDAY LISTING IN MY SIDE BAR AGAIN! WAHOO!!" I have a before picture of today’s project, THIS is what I tackled–the horrendous side attic, first written about in my Unfinished Projects post:
It doesn’t look like that anymore, but I didn’t take an after picture because this post isn’t about that.
For someone like me who has a.d.d. cleaning tendencies, this type of project takes all.day. and often can bleed into the next…this became one of those. The attic is now organized but there’s a pile to take to Goodwill and a pile to transfer to our roof attic.
But, as a result of the way I "clean", I found buried treasures.
It’s hideous, isn’t it?
There’s a date on the bottom of it, 12/70; I made it for my mother when I was seven years old. I’m not sure if it was a candy dish or an ashtray or a decorative piece of art, but it’s lumpy and bumpy, poorly painted and whop-sided. Just out of reach, in a teeny corner of my mind, I swear I can remember handling the clay, shaping it, messing up and starting over, and the best part, painting it. I vaguely remember waiting for it to be baked in the kiln and then wrapping it for her, too.
And then I wonder if I’m just imagining remembering….
When I was a bit older, probably in my teens, I found it. I recall speculating how she could have graciously and even enthusiastically received such an UGLY, pitiful, hand-made gift. I wondered why she even kept it–surely she could have thrown it out and I would have never known.
But, now…n o w? It’s one of my priceless treasures. When I hold it, I KNOW I’m holding a piece of her heart.
I’m certain she saw something beautiful in it, that for her, it was as if she were holding a piece of my heart when she handled it. She saw a little girl’s pride in accomplishment…a desire to please…determination, creativity and affection, when she looked at that little dish. I’m convinced it was a way for her to touch me, to be near me when she was too sick for us to spend much time with her. Although I don’t remember, I’d like to think she kept it on her bedside table, or maybe on the coffee table next to the sofa, close to where she read or watched tv.
How am I so sure of these things? I also found this today while I was attic organizing–
With three children, I have several gifts like this one tucked away here and there. This one is not in use and not on display, but it makes me smile every time I see it. My middle child made it when he was five years old (I’m so thankful for the date and signature on the bottom!).
To the casual observer, it’s as big a disaster as the attic was…to me, it’s beautiful. I see a little boy painting a gift for his mother…because I know he NEVER cared for art, I know it was w o r k for him….the fact he used multiple colors tells me he wanted to make it special. He and I looked at it together tonight and I asked him if he remembered making it (he doesn’t). We kind of laughed at how…pitiful…it was, but then I told him I loved it and thought it was beautiful. He believed me because he also knows about the dish I made for my mom. He gets that.
When my children were old enough to begin making gifts for me, I understood why Mama held onto the things she did. I’m so thankful for that now, because it allows me to touch something she touched; it might sound odd, but it bridges me to the past…no, that’s not quite right–it brings her to the present.
In the midst of wading through the closeted chaos of our attic, I delighted in the thought that beauty is not just found in the eye of the beholder…it’s also revealed in the beheld.
Robin, you continue to amaze with your keen insights and your writing excellence. Thanks for letting the rest of us share in the wisdom and wonder that flow from your mind and heart. That last line in your post? Simply brilliant. I am compelled now to dig out the box that contains all my boys’ art projects so I can enjoy them all over again.
Don’t ever give up blogging.
Everytime I tackle a BIG cleaning mission, I get sidetracked by the things I “discover”. What should only take an hour or two ends up becoming a day long project! “Oh my gosh! I haven’t seen that in years!!!” “Do you remember this???” “Oh, I should reallly clean that up and set it on the table” etc, etc…blah, blah, blah…you know how it is. But those are the cleaning jobs I like the most. Finding your lost treasures! That bowl you made is NOT hideous! It’s a beautiful creation of small hands. I’m glad you still have it 🙂 Thanks for sharing…(oh, and if you think your attic was bad, I should post a pic of mine!)
Your post is a gift to me and I thank you. I moved badly and swiftly several times when my kids were small but there is still a small plaster handprint and a lovely black painted Mother’s Day vase that mean the world to me.
I loved the glimpse into the treasures you have saved. My home is full of things made by my children and grandchildren. Also I have a huge box of art work and I love every item. I know I need to start sorting before I become too old but I keep putting it off!
That was such a beautiful post, thanks for sharing it.
Stephen, generous words, friend. Thank you.
Swampangel, you sound like a kindred cleaner. If we worked side by side, would it take twice as long or half as long? 😉
Sandy, I suppose that also helped keep down on clutter. So glad you have a few of those things to give you cause to smile :).
Chris, was that a NYR I just heard?? 😉
Alix, why thank you and you’re welcome!
Beautiful post Robin….thanks so much for sharing.
My son was tickled to find, while here for Christmas, a dinosaur paperweight he had made me years ago. He was sure to carry it all over the house showing everyone that mom still had it and he made it. 🙂 It’s truly the little things.
Oh, ps I did NOT photoshop the toy – the cell phone is there. I feel the same as you and my kids have been raised to pull over to talk on the phone. I think they have enough to do to keep on the road. If I called them and they answered without pulling over I chewed them out. I told them just call me back whenever they were no longer driving, don’t worry about answering.
What an absolutely perfect and beautiful post!
Aww, what a great post, Robin 🙂
This immediately reminded me of our heavenly Father who treasures us because we belong to Him. What we offer to Him is lumpy, bumpy, poorly-painted, and lopsided, but He loves these offerings when we offer them with love.
How very sweet – my mum has similar tragedies I and my siblings made.
My mom still has a smiley face picture I made in Kindergarten made with little tiles. I was amazed when I saw it in her files many years ago. She also wore the bubblegum machine rings my sister used to buy her all the time. her fingers were green but she wore them proudly to work each day! I definitely treasure those little disasters.
Gf, you made me cry with this post. So poignant.
Also…12/70? You’re 10 years older than me?! How on earth do you look so damn young?!