Yesterday, we received the culmination of weeks of phone calls, arrangements, and headaches in the form of 4 boxes of freight from Trenton, Missouri. Delivered in two loads from an eighteen-wheeler that couldn't come down our driveway, the eclectic mix of linens, furniture, kid toys, and old photographs sent by my Grandma Greiner were the result of purging as she prepares to move from her home in her childhood neighborhood to a retirement complex in Arizona, closer to two of her daughters.
It was surreal to watch my daughter inspect and play with toys that I had played with when I was her size, that my mom had played with when she was her size, and that my Grandmother had played with when she was Audrey's size. There is something to be said about never, ever throwing anything away.
When I opened the boxes, I was hit in the face with the smell of old fabric, mothballs, and the odd off-brand fabric softener from Hy-Vee that Grandma always uses... in other words, I was immediately sent back to the home that she's occupied since I was maybe in kindergarten (and really the only home I associate with her).
As I unpacked the antique baby doll buggy, the doll highchair, the boxes and bags and odds and ends, and really, the memories, I started remembering all the times I had encountered each thing in her home. Even now, after the excitement of unpacking the shipped treasures has ramped down, I still feel nostalgic... and a little sad. At no other time in the recent past have I felt so acutely the passage of time. It is almost like I can feel myself aging, my parents aging, and time slipping away.
It was just about two years ago that my Grandfather passed away. Now my Grandmother is moving to a retirement village, and the context in which she has always existed in my mind's eye is changing completely. Honestly, I can still remember when my grandparents still had color in their hair, could get down on the ground to play with their grandchildren, and were still pretty much the heads of the family. As pictures of them 10, 15, and 20 years ago slipped through my mind, I couldn't help but notice the gray in my mom's hair while she flipped through the box of old photos tucked in with the furniture.
Time really does fly. It's a beautiful and a scary thing. Today, I choose to focus on the beautiful.
Yellow Guy in the highchair that now belongs to a 4th generation
Audrey sitting in the little red chair that was my Grandpa's when he was a boy
Inspecting the baby buggy that belonged to her Great Grandmother when she was a girl
I remember when it seemed this big to me
Switching the canopy back and forth
Stuffing Yellow Guy inside...
...and off she goes!
Almost as exciting as the buggy and the chairs: the boxes they came in
Exploring the skylight
Reminiscent of that wack-a-mole game
Having a rooftop chat
It is a bittersweet thing, this Circle of Life... I guess, when you become melancholy and start pondering its ebb and flow, you can either become depressed by it, or choose to celebrate the memories and experiences that are provided by it. Here's to our family, our history, and it's continuation.