My grandma is a quilter whose sewing resume stretches over three decades.
The patience and perseverance necessary to maintain this skill of intricacy amazes me.
Precise measuring and cutting. The hum of a sewing machine joining fabric together.
An iron, hissing steam – pressing underside seams into smooth, neat lines.
Repeat, repeat. And in the end? A masterpiece of colors and squares and stitches, all mingled and bound up into something to keep you warm.
At sixteen, I was extremely privileged to be given one of her handmade quilts.
She had labored long hours of great love. And it was just for me!
This precious gift illustrates something we should treasure:
In the process of preserving my own grandparents’ legacy of stories and skills, four tips have proven helpful:
1. Savor it like a sunset.
The close of a day comes swiftly and beautifully. As the sun sinks beneath western skies, varying shades of color can be stunning at any given point.
With the same rapidness that the hues appeared, they fade away.
Likewise, a parallel can be etched to contrast our grandparents’ sunset years. Blink, and you just might miss the highlights. So notice and be attentive. Enjoy the details of their lives from beginning to end.
Hear the old stories that have been shared and laughed over for decades.
Appreciate certain hallmarks that comprise your family history.
Linger just a little longer with your grandparents.
2. Seize each opportunity.
It’s startling how easy it is to push the importance of now aside and forget the brevity of life.
I’ve been tempted to answer that text or check those notifications instead of immersing my focus fully on the time I have with my grandparents. There is always a sense of guilt afterwards. I chide myself for whenever I’ve sacrificed time spent in a superficial world, instead of right there with them.
Social media will always be there waiting tomorrow or the next day. So will the text; but our grandparents won’t! None of us want to have regrets.
Why didn’t I make time for this? Oh, I wish I had done that.
Instead, live in such a way that you can look back and say, “I’m so thankful I made that phone call, put together that photo album, or made that cake.”
3. Sort out the important stuff.
Remember how I mentioned well-loved stories? Be sure to get those down on paper.
Preserve the memories of birthday parties or events on camera.
Writing stories or taking pictures is an excellent way to cherish legacies. But it’s hard to weave it all into words or to capture the moments completely. While trying to snap photos of every element during sunsets or weddings, it’s possible to lose the pleasure of simply being there.
Don’t pressure yourself to write down every story your grandparents tell – or every tidbit of wisdom. Sometimes it’s best to quietly listen and genuinely appreciate them.
Again, the key is balance.
4. Be sure to leave a heritage yourself.
My grandma is going to hand down quilting to my sisters and me. I can’t wait! Hopefully, we can teach it to our future girls, and so on.
Taking up a family skill not only enhances the preserving process, but it knits you closer with your grandparent(s). The appreciation for them takes on much more depth and meaning.
It is a worthwhile, lovely pursuit.
Solomon says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” (Prov. 13:22a).
What makes up your family heritage? What can you learn and pass down through the generations?