My Great Aunt Marie was the most wonderful woman. She and my Uncle Beech never had children due to her childhood affliction of polio. But if there was ever a couple that adored children, it was them! Or at least that’s how they made me feel.
Apparently she crocheted the ‘Three Bears’ for me when I was a child. I don’t remember receiving the bears, but I remember them as a part of my life forever. I used to set them up on my bed, along with my Garfield stuffed animal, the kitty cat I won in Las Vegas playing ‘Flop the Chicken’ (an unrelated but hilarious story I’ll try to remember to tell y’all about some day). And the little clown was made by my parent’s house keeper, Jeanne.
I’m sure when my Great Aunt Marie made those bears for me, as well as a couple of knitted blankets, she didn’t think much past her grand-niece’s use. I always loved those little bears because she had made them just for me. She probably didn’t realize that only a year after her death, her great-great grand-niece would also have these bears in her nursery. And that I would get tears in my eyes each time I think about how often I cuddled those little bears as a child, and hope that Drew can love them as much as I have.
I wonder if my Great Aunt Marie ever knew that when I make a relish tray I always include big black olives and gherkin pickles because it makes me think of her. Thanksgiving at her house was delicious, and I’m sure the hours she spent making her homemade potato rolls was what she hoped I would remember (which of course I do), but my favorite thing was that relish tray! She would put it near the edge of the table so that us kids could reach it, so we could sneak snacks while our moms weren’t looking. I think I’d eat a whole can of those ripe olives before the turkey was even sliced.
Aunt Marie and Uncle Beech had a little grey poodle. The dog door they installed for her led to a wooden ramp into the backyard. All of us kids figured out that we could wiggle through the dog door to play in their backyard while the grown ups did all that boring talking. As you exited the doggy door, just to the left was a huge hedge of the most beautiful camellia bushes. The famous story about me and my aunt’s award-winning camelias included me picking all of the blooms and the buds and carrying them around in the hem of my skirt.
I wonder what Drew’s historical moments will be in our family? My girlfriend’s son had a great moment at my baby shower… as he walked out the door, he headed into the dining room where everyone had congregated. As if it were exactly how everyone else had done, he reached up with his tiny little 2-year-old hand and grabbed a hunk of strawberry cake. He kept on walking out the front door eating his cake as we all fell out in full laughter.
I can’t wait to see what my daughter manages to do that we’ll talk about for the rest of her life. And I wonder what pieces of her childhood will stay with her forever, eventually ending up her children’s nursery. And I wonder if my Aunt Marie is looking down from heaven smiling as she realizes that while she isn’t here to hold my little Drew, she will be a part of her life…