Things That Make Your Heart Feel Tender

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We all know that things don’t matter as much as people, but sometimes when the people you love are far away there are some things you just don’t want to be without. Yesterday, after 78 days and trip that began back in America, some of my special things finally arrived from Georgia. It was a bit surreal seeing the things I had pared down to as the most essential from my American life taken off a truck in the tiny village in England I now call home.

I had to open some boxes right away to ensure there was no damage and my art pieces were the first ones I tore into. I was opening at a good pace with an excitement similar to a child on Christmas morning when the watercolor piece above stopped my excited frenzy of paper tearing with an audible ooooooh… followed by a loud ,”John, come look at this one….”

This sweet little watercolor is a tender connection to my daughter’s childhood and to her every time I see it. She brought it home one day very early in her school career somewhat rumpled as large project can be when carried by small hands. I loved it from the beginning and after claiming a space on the side of the refrigerator reserved for special things, I eventually took it down and rolled it up intending to have it framed. It took about five years before I could make up my mind how I wanted to frame it which occurred right about the time my daughter would have preferred that her middle school age friends not see the art work of her early years. She called this little bunny, “Cerit Body” or “Carrot Body” ¬†as she told me when I mispronounced it the first time based on her written words at the top of the painting and if you look closely at the bottom, you can just make out the young artist’s signature too.

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I felt a bit tearful seeing this little watercolor painting and held it so closely that John picked up the camera to capture my emotional moment. I am so glad to have it with me and I’m already thinking about the best place to hang it when the dust settles around here.

Some things will have to stay boxed until my new space is finished and since our master bedroom is going through a renovation and extension too with the addition on an en-suite bath, nothing can be unpacked for that room yet either. Yesterday afternoon, John and I moved boxes of clothes and linens & towels up to the attic while creating a temporary holding space in the living room corner for the 9 boxes of books I shipped over along with a section for art and other collectables. The kitchen is overflowing with dishes and china, along with bowls and cooking things my grandmother once used on a regular basis. The wooden bread bowl carved by my great grandfather quickly replaced the basket that John kept fruit in and will have a place on the table once it’s cleared of all the pieces I placed there while unpacking yesterday.

Last night when all the lights were out and I was heading for bed, I followed my nightly routine of checking all the doors to be sure the house was locked up tight for the night. This habit is one I inherited from my father who always made this a part of his bedtime ritual. He called it shutting down the house. That I do it now reminds me of my father on a more frequent and personal level than seeing his photograph on my shelf…proving that sometimes a memory or tradition can be as valuable in some ways as our possessions. Last night however, as I lingered at the kitchen door and looked back into the messy room, I was more than happy and content to see the physical examples of my family and my story waiting to find a place in this new home.