Family Heirloom is passed on to another generation
|Word Count 459
The Thread Box
I entered grandma’s small, one bedroom apartment, feeling like an intruder. I could almost feel her spirit in the room. I was thinking of walking out when I saw it, the old trunk. One of its keys was in the lock and its match was hanging by a small cotton string. Its brass corners had darkened with tarnish. I knelt in front of it, turned the key and slowly opened the black lid. The faint musty smell of age and memories tickled my nose. The paper lining was yellow and amber from the passing of time.
Time…funny thing that. I thought we had more time. “Grandma,” I spoke into the air. “Why didn’t you come live with us? Why didn’t you tell me you weren’t well?” There was no response. What did I think, that she’d answer from beyond? I chuckled. She was spunky enough she just might find a way to do that. She was probably having too good a time with the family.
I peeled back the tissue on the top shelf. As I removed delicate cotton blessing gowns and old framed photos of nameless relatives, I saw the thread box. Its fleur-de-lis patterned fabric also stained with age. I raised its hinged lid and gently fingered the small wooden spools of thread. The threads were no longer bright and new. The wooden spools were dinged and worn. I had never used those spools of thread. Each thread was a tenuous tie to the faint few memories of my mother. Each divided compartment held a different color. I hadn’t seen my mother since I was three years old. I knew so little about her. Now it was too late to ask the questions I hadn’t thought to ask before. I wondered what she had sewn with those threads. “Mom…did you ever sew anything for me?” I would never know.
Now, so many years later, I stood in the doorway of the hospital room, gazing with love at my daughter and the new addition to our family. My beautiful daughter had never met her great-grandmother or her grandmother. I wasn’t going to wait for questions that might never come. I wasn’t going to wait for goodbyes that might not be said in time. I walked in and as I sat on the bed, I gave her the gift. I was entrusting those special threads that had tied Grandmother to mother, to granddaughter and now gently reached out to entwine the first great granddaughter. I entrusted the family legacy to a new, young mother who would someday entrust it to the new great-great-grand-daughter nestled in her mothers loving embrace.