Grandma’s “De-Nesting”

February 22nd, 2007

Here Comes GrandmaI visit with my husband’s grandmother about 2-3 times a month. She is a hoot at 84 yrs. old. I have known her now about 18 yrs. and I have always looked at her as my own grandma. She tells great stories about when she was a kid, she is a great cook, she loves crafts, she loves puzzles and reading. She is very opinionated at times. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but I enjoy her company just the same.

Recently, she has started giving things away. Not expensive things or things that have a lot of sentimental value. No, she is just “de-nesting”. I remember being pregnant many years ago and going through the “nesting” phase (when you have to get things in order before the baby arrives). Now, I see this 84 yr. old woman that I have come to love very much “de-nesting”. In a way, it makes me sad. She is going through books, furniture, crafts, dishes….she is giving things away or trashing them. Things that have given her joy over her long life.

I was honored that she gave me some handmade dish towels and linens recently. Some of them are from her mom and were made in the 40’s. Sure, they have some yellowing/stains and are worn. However, I have them in my kitchen and home and look at them fondly every day. They might not be worth much at all, but they are very special to me.

When we live our lives and find that we are “winding down” in the history books, I think we start to look at life differently. We look about our home and we see years of memories. Trinkets from places we have been, gifts we were given, items that we made, and photos of loved ones present and past.

I am approaching the point of living half of my life. That is a very sobering thought. As I look around my home, I wonder what I will give to loved ones when I am “winding down”. Will I be like grandma and sense that it is happening? Will those around me realize that by giving away items like: a dish towel, a treasured book, a piece of furniture…I am giving away a piece of myself. How wonderful it would be for others to speak fondly of me when I am gone.

I am learning from grandma’s “de-nesting”. She has taught me that my family and those I care for are what matters. That when I am gone, it will be the moments we shared and the laughter that was made that will matter. I missed out on spending the last days with my own grandparents, Nick & Francis. I am so glad that I can spend time with my husband’s grandparents.

Nana, although I am honored with your gifts, I hope that you stay with us for a long, long time. Those dish towels are wonderful, but they are nothing compared to your company.

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