Friday, December 10, 2004

It would have been worth a broken leg or two.

When my daughter was three years old, I bought her a beautiful hand-carved wooden dolly cradle at a flea market/craft show for five dollars. It was sturdier than our kitchen table, and the man demonstrated its strength by standing in it and jumping up and down. He said I could have it as soon as he'd finished sanding down the heart-shaped headboard. It was big enough to hold all the sweet dollies in the house, plus one tiny little girl. (if she sat with her knees under her chin.)

Our house was so small that the cradle was terribly in the way. Most of the time it lived underneath the bed, or beside Hub's chair.

That didn't always work, though, because he would put magazines and empty coke cans in it.

It was for dollies, not magazines and recycling.

I have a few pictures of our Son sitting in it, rocking back and forth and grinning like a jack-o'lantern.

I have a few pictures of Daughter rocking her sweet dollies to sleep in it.

I have a few pictures of the cradle in the middle of the floor, full of dollies, and really in the way.

I have a lot of pictures of the cradle's footboard peeking out from beneath the bed.

But mostly, we have memories of 'some day we'll have a big house and both kids will have their own rooms and Daughter can display that cradle full of dollies and play with it whenever she wants without the big deal of getting it out from under the bed.'

By the time that happened, she was in the sixth grade, and considered herself too old to play with the dolly cradle.

The cradle was beautiful. It was hand-carved, and stronger than the kitchen table. It held all the dollies in the house, plus a real child.

I know it did, because I have a few pictures.

The cradle is now on a closet shelf, in the bedroom she moved into when she was going into the sixth grade. It never had a place of glory in a little girl's bedroom. When she was a little girl, she had no room of her own.

We just never had room for it, when she was little.

It was almost always hidden away, so we could walk around in that tiny little house.

I hope that someday she'll have a little girl who can display that cradle and fill it with sweet dollies and never have to shove it under the bed when she's finished. I want to see that cradle out where it can be played with at a moment's notice. I should never have let it be stored away just so Hub and I wouldn't trip and break a leg.

I thought I'd learned my lesson when I seldom put the really pretty baby clothes on them because they were 'too good,' and then when a 'good' occasion arose, the clothes no longer fit.

Hindsight is worthless, as we all know. But sometimes one person's hindsight is a piece of good advice for someone else.

Don't hide the good stuff away; get it out and let it be used. The time will come when your children won't want to use it any more. Be sure they get to while they still want to. If it breaks, it breaks. What's an old dish compared to an old memory?

I've never cared much for antiques. If there's a bowl in my house, I like it best when it's full of GenericLoops and sitting on the floor in front of a child who is watching cartoons. What good is pretty glassware if it's never full of milk or juice and being held by a smiling dirty-faced kid?

It might look good behind glass in a cabinet, but it looks even better on your table covered with bbq sauce and potato salad.

You're saving them for "company?" Since when are strangers more important than your family?

Get the good stuff out and use it. How do you think your surviving antiques got that awesome patina? From being used, that's how.

Don't keep the good stuff under the bed. Get it out and walk around it.

Your kids are more important than any guest you could possibly have. Use the good stuff.

Just watch your step. Sometimes the good stuff is stronger than your kitchen table and will pack a hell of a wallop if you fall over it.

I wish I'd known that twenty years ago.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:26 AM | |


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