Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Can I Have This When You're Dead?

When I was getting dressed for work, The Rooster walked in, pointed at my outfit and said,

"Mom, when I'm grown up, as big as you and you are dead... can I have that shirt?"

[This made my mother, who often heard things like this from me at Roo's age, laugh like crazy.]

That night after the kids went to bed, I sat at the dining room table letting my shoulders finally sink into a relaxed position.

Work day. Check.

Family dinner. Check.

Bedtime routine. Check.

I looked up at the corner shelves and noticed my Grandmother's sugar bowl and creamer.

I coveted the cream and sugar bowl when I was little.

Both are shaped like two little Franciscan monks.

One day when my Grandmother was babysitting for me, I said,

"Granny, can I have these when you die."

It's funny, of course I now realize I don't enjoy owning them nearly as much as I thought I might when I was four.

If only returning them would undo the circumstances of their being mine.

20 comments:

Meg at Demanding Joy said...

What a touching post. My 5-year-old seems to be obsessed with death lately. I believe that he has systematically called dibs on my entire estate (such that it is).

Stacia said...

I felt the same as a child about my grandpa's dominoes. And the same when they became mine. Oh, to play just one more game with him. I might even win one this time around.

Heather said...

It's all sadly so true, isn't it. Wonderfully put.

furiousBall said...

oh man, i was going to call dibs on your dead clothes

Sayre said...

When my grandmother died, she left a fairly large estate to her own children (thinking, I'm sure, that it would be passed down eventually). The grandchildren all got to go through the house and pick one thing they really wanted as a remembrance. When I spent the night at her house as a child, there was a beautiful white ceramic cat on a shelf that I always loved, so that was what I picked. One of my brothers picked an old jelly jar that had been used as a glass. It's funny the things that remind you. I think of her every time I see my little white cat sitting on the piano.

Perhaps Roo wants something close to you so she can feel close to you when you're gone. It's another way to say "I love you."

Denguy said...

Boyo's convinced that I'll still be alive when he's 100. Not sure I really want to reach 135. But then again....

~ifer said...

Beautiful post. It really touched my heart. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You tell stories in a way that touches my heart - a way that makes me smile through teary eyes. I treasure you. Love Mom

BOSSY said...

Bossy gets it. But it's the continuum nonetheless.

Gingers Mom said...

My kids talk about me being dead often. They seem to think when they are grown ups, naturally we will be gone. Perhaps because we talk so openly about our beliefs in Heaven and how it is such a wonderful place to be. Or they just would rather have our really cool loot.

All Adither said...

I have some porcelain chickens that remind me of my grandma and make me smile everyday. But yes, I'd rather have her.

Cynthia said...

you know my salt and pepper shaker obsession was started by not getting my grandma's that i loved so much as a kid. everything was sold in an estate sale without us being asked. it still pisses me off. my aunt (by marriage) got the rubies that my grandma promised me because it was our shared birthstone. can you hear the bitterness?

if you'd not gotten the sugar and creamer from granny, you'd have one more thing to be sad about. she used that sugar and creamer. it was in her hands, in ottie's hands. it's sad that we can't keep people forever... sometimes our stuff outlasts us.

karen pery said...

Oh Jess, I'm so sorry. A part of me thinks this is Granny's way of saying, "see, I told you I'd always love you."

My little girl and I have these talks too often for my comfort - will you still love me when you're dead? Of course dear, even when I'm dead. Doesn't make me want to get there any sooner, but a little comfort in the belief that love transcends, you know.

apathy lounge said...

I probably asked for stuff like that too. I'd trade all of it for living grandparents.

Kelly said...

I feel similarly about my grandmother's St. Joseph's Missal. It's only been at my bedside for a year or so, as long as she's been gone. And as grateful as I am to have something that was so important to her, I much preferred seeing it on her coffee table.

So yep, I get this. A lot.

Kevin Charnas said...

Oh my friend... I'm hugging you right now. I know it doesn't feel like I am.

But, I am...

Liv said...

Right now, as I play neighbor and try to make the rounds, I wonder at how our Rooster and Peep have managed to get so big.

Peep is not content to want things when I've passed. She wants them now. :-)

Gray Matter said...

Well crap, now you've made me feel bad about drooling over my mother's jewelry when we went to a wedding this weekend and stating, "I'll take those when you're done with them."

Hey, that could be interpreted lots of ways, right?

Amanda said...

Briar has taken to scrawling notes and asking me to tuck them in my pocket. "Mom, will you have those jeans on when you die?" I wince, "Not sure, baby, why?" She stuffs a note as deep in my pocket as she can and says, "It tells you that you're my mom so that when you get dead you don't forget."

And the air whooshes out of me as I know her fear and can do nothing for it other than to say, "Sweet girl, there isn't a thing in the world, not even getting dead, that could make me forget I am your mama and that you are my first baby."

thisnewplace said...

My grandmother actually had everyone's names on the bottom of all her antiques and china, and well, stuff, for YEARS. We'd be at her house and she'dpoint to something and say "that's gonna be yours when I go one day". It was weird. And sure enough, when she passed away, I got all the stuff my name was on. I do cherish it, her china and silver, we use daily, I have a clock I remember from my entire childhood. But I agree, it isn't worth it.