Saturday, October 24, 2009

Where have all the heirlooms gone?

Does your family have an actual heirloom? Seems like in days gone by every family had something of significant value. Something handed down through the generations. Something of quality craftsmanship and great pride. In today's world of disposable everythings there are no true heirlooms. I know I have nothing to hand down to my children. I suppose Heidi could have my wedding dress but mostly likely she will want to pick her own dress. I have some jewelry that isn't disposable but that's about it. Everything else is so temporary and disposable. Nothing is handmade. Its all mass produced in Taiwan or India. Even cell phones are replaced every couple years. My grandparents have the same coffee maker they've had since they were married (62 years). I've replaced our coffee maker at least 3 times since we've been married (8 years). Part of it is the fast paced growth of technology. Why buy a DVD when there is a BluRay disk? A CD when you can download songs directly on to your iPod...but be sure to replace that iPod next spring with one that is even smaller and can hold 100,000 songs and podcasts?
We don't even print pictures with regularity. I take thousands of pictures but rarely print them. I do make scrapbooks filled with pretty archival papers to showcase the pictures but its a slow process and I don't know that I will ever finish. Plus I'm not handing them off to anyone. My kids can have their baby books when I'm dead!

So in this world of transience a true family heirloom is ever more special. I had the great privilege to use an heirloom with all three of my children. My Grandma was baptised wearing a beautiful silk gown with a silk brocade cloak and bonnet. I have never seen anything more beautiful or made with such great care. You want to whisper when you handle the delicate fabric. And its even more precious to put something so magnificent on a newborn baby. Babies and heirlooms are their own beautiful combination. Its reserved for one very special and holy moment in your child's life. A fleeting moment draped in luxurious silk and anointed with oils. So beautiful and terrifying to put a wiggly baby into something grand. I am very honored to have been able to use a real, honest heirloom that is almost 100 years old. And even more pleased that none of my babies ruined it.

Raph on his baptism day

Colin on his baptism day being held by his great-grandma and the original owner of the gown

Heidi on her baptism day and wearing the bonnet reserved for the girls in the family

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