I’ve bought and sold a dozen houses over the years. Never thought I’d have to check in with my kids! But this week when I announced I’d signed a contract on a new home, the expressions on my two adult children told it all. “But we haven’t seen it,” they replied. I’d like to think it’s just their interest in my happiness, but somehow I wonder if they think I‘ve grown too senile and old to make the decision alone. I think I’ll stick with my happiness.
Passing of the china! I have owned this white, silver-rimmed china for forty years. It has been moved from house to house over many miles, many dining room tables, and many decades. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter – year after year from age twenty-seven to sixty-seven.
Here I am moving again. This time, even though the house is no smaller than my current one, I have decided to purge my belongings. I got on-line to see if the pattern was still available and found that it was. I priced it on eBay and Amazon and was pleasantly surprised at its value. I saw dollar signs! I took photos and wrote my description for the ads. Just before I posted, I phoned my sister and daughter and said, “Hey, do you guys want this stuff?” I was shocked when my daughter said, “Absolutely!”
My daughter is very modern; a post-punk-era child. Her home décor is black and chrome, with reds and purples and skulls and cupcakes and Copenhagen! You know the style. I was quite taken aback that she would even want “china” among her possessions.
Yesterday, she carefully bubble-wrapped and packed each piece, boxed it, and took it home. I had to smile at the irony. At one time she had her hair dyed black, cut short with a mullet; steel-toed Doc Martins on her feet, heavy metal chains hanging in various places and multiple ear piercings.
But here she was, my thirty-nine year old daughter, sitting on the floor in jeans and a Nordstrom’s green cotton tee top, flip flops, silver hooped earrings; her hair pulled back into a pony tail, with no make-up, packing china to take to her own home. Just before she left, she said something that startled me. “I told dad I was getting your wedding china, and he said he couldn’t believe you still had it.”
It stopped me in my tracks! I hadn’t thought of it as wedding china for twenty-five or thirty years and the term threw me off-kilter. I had completely forgotten that her dad and I had picked that pattern forty years ago. We’ve been divorced for twenty-five of those. I suddenly understood her desire and the nostalgia surrounding the dishes.
It felt as if I were handing down the crown to the next generation. Perhaps it will sit on her dining table one holiday soon where I will be the guest.