Saturday, November 17, 2007
My Morning View: Decisions And Memories
I realized, as I brushed my teeth and looked around this morning, that it might be a bit odd to have my rock/paper/scissors dice juxtaposed with my healthy choices affirmation card. I also noticed that I still had my all time favorite grocery list on my vanity. (We keep a communal grocery list on the island in the kitchen and all manner of things end up on them. Click to see the picture larger if you can't read it.) And I wanted to show you that it is almost time for the wearing of the Bracelet of Awesomeness. I have it out and ready to go, but I can't officially put it on until Thursday.
I was lucky enough to know and be close to both of my grandmothers and they each have their own holiday association in my head. The Fourth of July was my holiday with my Grammy Lois and Thanksgiving came to be connected to my Grammy Mil - even though that's not the time of year we typically got to spend with her. When I was little (starting when I was about 8?), my Grammy Mil sent all of the granddaughters (four of us at the time) a Towle silver charm bracelet. The first charm was "The first day of Christmas" and we got a new charm each year thereafter for 11 years. They were pretty but not a surprise and our mothers didn't let us "play" with them (as you can imagine) - so for the first several years they didn't register very high on our list of favorite Christmas presents. I can't put my finger on the exact year that began to change.
It was tradition that the bracelets could only be worn from Thanksgiving supper until Christmas Day. Thanksgiving was the first time we could wear the charm that was given us the year before. Slowly that became more and more exciting to us. Somewhere in my teens I began to appreciate having a beautiful, formal, and adult piece of jewelry to wear during the holidays. It was fun at family gatherings to have us all wearing our bracelets - the tinkling of the charms an integral part of my holiday memories. Later, for the years I wasn't able to be home during the holidays, wearing my bracelet made me feel closer to my family. My grandmother died when I was twenty one and missed getting to see her final granddaughter's entry into this world. My sister and my cousins and I got together (with our moms) and bought my baby cousin Patricia a bracelet too. A charm a year for twelve years. She's a junior in high school this year. She told me a couple of years ago how much it meant to her that we included her that way. We're all apart this year - not even two of us in the same place - and it will be ok. Physical location is the smallest part of what we've ever shared. We will cook and feast (and watch football) with friends and different parts of our families and we'll remember the even wider circle. Thursday the heavy, silver charms will clink one against the other on my wrist while I stir gruyere, butter and heavy cream into the grits making them "company grits" as Grammy Mil did every year - and I will be connected to my sister and cousins and our generation will be connected to our mothers' and aunts' and grandmothers'.
My charm bracelet is still beautiful and formal and grown up looking - but it is most precious to me because it has become an outward symbol of the way the women in my family are joined by love, shared memories and traditions that span time as well as space. As I fold my hands together (clinkity, clinkity) for the blessing on Thursday, I will give thanks for those I hold dear, but especially for my grandmother Mil.