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Thursday, March 22, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Remember that pretty song about favorite things?  You know, "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes..."? My dad really loves that one. Also "Turn Around" which talks about a little girl growing up so quickly. The latter is fodder for another post another day. Or maybe the subject of time with our smalls racing by me is one I've mentioned plenty.

Anyway, thank goodness for both of us that I won't dwell on that today, but rather that I've been thinking of my favorite things. Of course, my real favorites are the people I am lucky enough to live with. They're pretty special. None of us is perfect but we're perfect for each other.

I'd like to think I was much less captivated by material possessions than I apparently am. I thought I was about a year ago. We put most our belongings into a container on a ship that December, our life's collection to date weighing in at something like 12,000 pounds (what, you've heard about that, too? So repetitive, this blog!). However heavy it was, I made note that we were under our weight allowance, which I took as a green light to load up on treasures from London. Anyway, a few weeks into our stay in an Illinois rental house with just the basics and a bit of rental furniture, I honestly couldn't imagine what all was on that ship. I knew for sure that if we didn't miss it, we didn't need it. I felt that way when I heard one of our crates arrived at the dock in England having been breached and with water damage. So very zen I was about it all. Just things. Who needs them? (I still feel that way when I talk about our charitable adventure. Just throw 6 outfits in a duffel, a few bandanas, paperback books, crayons, and we're off! Right?!)

Then I arrived to a big flat in a foreign country. Where everything was a bit bizarro. Things that shouldn't be difficult to translate seemed unintelligible. And I was speaking the native language. Fortunately, because we'd shipped our belongings ahead and lived without for a few months (that's just how it happened because of our extraordinarily quick house sale and extraordinarily long visa process), within a matter of days, once we were here, so was everything we owned. While I'd not like to replicate the stresses of that part of our move exactly, we have learned that living without in a place you know is pretty easy. So much so that I'd willingly send our shipment ahead early on our next move.

And truly, although I'd caught myself unawares thinking "Hey, it's gonna be like Christmas!" when we'd moved the last time, this time it was honestly joyful discovering what all was tucked in those mountains of boxes here. It didn't make the unpacking less daunting, but it was delightful rediscovering our belongings. I found that I really do care about our "things" and that they bring me much happiness. Mostly because the most special things come with a story. They tell the story of us.

So as part of storytelling, these are a few of my favorite things. I'll bet you have a few of your own, too.

Old Secretary.
When the Mister and I were first married, we lived in the headquarters of the Junior League of Richmond. That deserves an entire post. But for now, know that we rented the top floor of a beautiful mansion for mere dollars. It was huge. And the roof was pitched which meant we had mostly curved walls. And wedding gifts that we were eager to unpack. My parents were kind enough to contribute money for an antique secretary that served as our china cabinet. It fit perfectly in the little nook that didn't have a curved wall. New to the concept of antiques, we chose it because it was lovely. We thought it cost a fortune (it was to us then) but now I'd say it was priced fairly for its well loved condition. We thought "empire" sounded great and we didn't know it wouldn't be long before some of the glass would break, the wood peel off, a leg threaten to collapse. A few times. We couldn't imagine then that it would one day hold games and puzzles for 4 little children. We thought we loved it then. Now we'll cobble it together forever to keep it in our home.

Flowered Chair.
This was one of our first purchases for our first home. We were finally ready to return the borrowed wing chairs and buy something of our own. This required thumbing through lots of fabric books. The Mister and I (we blessedly usually agree quickly on these things - although don't get me started on the process that was selecting wedding flowers or everyday dishes. Nearly 15 years later and I can still recall those conversations verbatim.) fell in love with this print. We asked the salesman if he happened to have it on a piece of furniture in the store so we might see it in person. He looked a bit horrified and said (with great relief it seemed!) that he'd never seen that pattern. On anything. What did he know. It is pretty. At least to us. And it is still one of my favorite things. It makes me feel grown up and a bit brave to choose such a giant colorful pattern.

Kitchen Table.
This was an old display table from Marshall Field. I stumbled on it when looking for a dresser for yet to arrive Baby Sister at a beloved antique store in La Grange. We both loved it and snatched it up quickly. When house/flat hunting in London, not surprisingly, no other homes we saw would have come close to fitting this monster. Our agent advised us to choose the right flat and consider putting the table in storage. Hooray that we didn't have to as our table fit perfectly into our new home in London. As always, it was meant to be. I adore that it came predistressed and has been the perfect table for our last two homes without eat in kitchens. It is where we eat, play games, do homework and messy art and science projects. It is only getting more distressed. It has hosted big family gatherings, heaping buffets and 15 little boys for a LEGO party. It is generous. What's not to love?

Pineapple Bed.
This is one of a pair of beds from my mother's side of the family. They were in her home when she was growing up and where my sister and I would sleep when we stayed with my grandparents when we were little. My sister has one at her house and I have the other. Big Sister knows it is very special, just like she is.

Boys' Dresser.
We bought this for not yet born Biggest Brother. When I was hugely pregnant and we weren't sure who was going to have a job when the baby came and every penny mattered. Even more than it does now. When we probably shouldn't have spent anything. But I was nesting and it didn't cost much. We put a changing pad on the top and viola! we made a nursery out of a big closet! I have fond memories of my first baby smiling at himself and us in the mirror (which isn't here...we hope to discover it in storage when we're Stateside again) while the Mister and I changed him. It took two of us to change a diaper in those days. I'm planning that precious newborn's 10th birthday party. Ten years on, his dresser is solid and true. Just like he is. (To the untrained eye, what looks like a mess of LEGOs underneath is indeed an entire train village stowed not so carefully. And did you spot the "Baby Sister on a Stick?")

Like us, none of these is particularly fancy or high end. But all have lots of character, are well loved, and are a special part of a humble little collection. These are a few of my favorite things.

1 comment:

  1. As a native Virginian and Richmonder - I love hearing about living in the JLR house! So conveniently close to the Jefferson and it's incredible cocktails and food! I am soooo wanting to hear this story.