Passing Down History with a Family Heirloom

I admit that I can find an emotional attachment to most things. I kept a baby swing in my daughter’s room until she was nearly two and a half. I just couldn’t bring myself to take it down, but a few weeks ago my mom showed up with something that needed to take its place. When I was little I had an adorable little dresser in my room that my great-grandparents had lovingly made for my mom when she was little. I literally spent HOURS sitting on this little stool playing with make-up and bows.

I knew the moment my mom brought it over that my daughter, Kate, would want to grow up doing the same thing.

My great-grandparents were so creative and crafty. What they didn’t have in material things, they made up for in wit and love. My cousins and I always loved going to their house and playing for hours in their basement with the handmade dollhouse they had made, along with its furniture and decor; no detail was left untouched.
When my mom brought over the dresser it just about brought tears to my eyes, although I admit, it doesn’t take much to make me cry. I can remember seeing photos of my mom sitting at that little dresser and I have photos of me doing the same thing. There is just something about thinking that my own daughter will also sit at that table and make sweet memories, just like I did. I wish that my Mamaw Jackie and Papaw Paul were here to see her do so. I know it would mean the world to them to know that we loved something so much that we kept up with it for all these years and not only that, but continued to play with it, which is exactly what they wanted us to do: be kids and play.

I wanted to give the dresser just a bit of a face-lift without changing the simplicity and craftiness it started with.

One of the things I loved about my great-grandparents was how resourceful they were. They took old wood paneling that was all the rage back in that day, and used it to make this little dresser. It may not have been the most beautiful piece, but they sure made up for that in quality by never missing a detail. This sweet thing is as sturdy as ever.

I ran over to one of my favorite stores, The Back Porch Mercantile and picked up a can of Annie Sloan chalk paint, and in the span of a nap time, I turned this dresser into what I hope will be a family heirloom for many, many more years to come. Incorporating handed-down pieces of furniture, decor, toys, or clothing into my kids’ lives has meant so much to me. It has allowed me to share stories with my kids not only about my childhood, but also about their grandparents’, great-grandparents’, and great-great-grandparents’ childhoods as well. My kids may not fully understand or appreciate it now, but they will. The more I talk about my grandparents, tell them stories about where they came from, how funny they were, how great of a cook they were, how they could tell the BEST stories, my kids will grow up to know that they came from some really, really amazing people. And they will even have a few pieces to show for it.

My Mamaw and Papaw my not be here with me anymore, but every time I walk past my daughter’s room, and I see her tiny body sitting on the stool, with her little feet still not yet touching the ground, draped in gaudy play jewelry with lipstick smeared across her face, I know that they are with me, and that they would be so proud of me and so delighted that something they made with their own two hands is still one of my most prized possessions.

 Are there things in your family that have been handed down generation after generation? What have you done to bring them back to life?

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