Last week, I went to a $10,000 fundraiser at my work. Truthfully, I had no intention of going but my parents bought a ticket to the raffle and since Michael is back working I figured I could spring for the $100 ticket with the hopes that I would win the $10,000 and build my emergency savings back up. A girl can never be too safe, you know.
My parents and I drove together. Michael stayed home with the kiddos and enjoyed movies and nachos. I have to admit I had my typical lottery mindset. I was already planning on calling home with the great news - should I put all of it in savings, should I buy the curtains I want from Ballard Designs, should I, should I, should I... my mind was racing with possibilities. Thankfully, my mind did not have to spin for long, my number was eliminated before I finalized my plans.
I am not even sure why, but on the way home, we started talking about my dad's religious upbringing. He was raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism when he married my mom. Because I did not know, I asked if he was active as a Protestant. He told me my grandmother "Limbacher" taught Sunday School when he was growing up. I never knew that. When I got home I spent all night wondering what else I did not know.
My "Limbacher" - the name I lovingly gave my grandmother when I was a little girl remained my name for her until she passed when I was 33. In fact, I still refer to her as "Limbacher" and my kids know her by that name.
I know that she was a meticulous woman. Her craftsmanship was unbelievable. She made me handmade doll house furniture when I was little. She made her own daughter, my aunt, outfits with matching outfits for her doll. She painted furniture that adorned her home.
My favorite thing she made was Ukrainian Eggs. She would hand-blow the eggs and then using hot wax and dye she would create intricate, authentic designs. Her patience for crafts was obviously a bit stronger than mine.
She displayed the eggs in her home in beautiful, crystal bowls. She was not afraid that they were going to break. She even talked about not worrying about it. She felt that they were meant to be out and enjoyed and if something happened so be it.
I am always afraid that things are going to break. Sometimes, I think, I do not even put things out so I will not have to worry about them breaking. Seems a bit pathetic when I think about it.
When my grandfather died, we visited Limbacher at her home in upstate New York. As we were leaving, my aunt gave me a little round box. As we drove away, I open the box and inside was one of Limbacher's eggs. I cried. I have never had the guts to display the egg. It has sat in the box in my jewelry drawer since I brought it home. Every once in a while, I take a peek. I do not always peek, I simply feel comfort in knowing that it is there.
After the night spent wondering about all the things I did not know about her life, I saw the box in my drawer and opened it. It was broken. I was a bit shocked and burst into tears. Not the gentle roll down the cheek kind of tears, but the ugly cry. I could not even pull together why I was so upset. My daughter saw me crying and reminded me that my parents had a bunch of her eggs at their house in the cartons....and then, to myself, I got even more sad.
I did not even honor her. She never would have kept the egg in her drawer. She would have proudly displayed it. She would have shared it - she would not have been afraid that it would break.
I am not saying that she was without fear - In fact, I did not know her enough to even know that. But I know that fragility of these eggs did not scare her...and I know that fragility scares me. I get anxious, sad, and worried that things will end - and maybe if I keep them in a safe, little box I will be spared.
But, as with the egg, even when things are kept safe and sound - life happens - and sometimes things break. The memories do not break. Nothing changes to all that you know and do not know.
I kept the egg. I took it out of the box.
I have slowly, but surely, started going through my house. I have started unpacking the fragile - literally and figuratively. I have started tossing the things that do not mean anything to me, to our family or to our journey. I am taking the fragile head-on because it might be just a little bit easier to say good bye if I have enjoyed it along the way.