I was lucky. I was the first-born daughter. You can ask my sister about all the clothing hand-me-downs she had to endure. I did have some, mostly from my aunt. At the time, I thought them atrocious. Now, as long as the item is in good shape and usable, I don’t mind.
But, I think not now, of clothes, kitchen tools, and other such things, so much as I think of all of my quilting tools, material, supplies, etc. – all hand-me-downs of a sort, from my mom. These items were not given with the thought of “here, you can have this cause I don’t use it and you might be able to use it.” No, they weren’t actually even given, so much as taken – because my siblings didn’t want or desire them, my dad certainly didn’t, and no one else in my family was interested four years after my mom died.
Yet, I do consider all these things hand-me-downs, technically. I certainly wouldn’t have two rotary cutting mats, two rotary cutters, miscellaneous stencil templates used for quilting designs, two books of quilting design templates, several other quilting pattern books, plastic bins full of cotton material, markers, protractors, Gingher scissors, a shoebox full of DMC perle cotton of various colors, embroidery hoops out the zing zang, large format graph paper, a set of 6 completely embroidered quilt blocks completed, pins and needles galore, 12 Dresden plate blocks, a few other partially completed blocks for quilts, buttons out the wazzoo (of which I didn’t even keep them all), Grandma’s sewing machine and her cedar chest.
No, I would not have bought these things for myself, would I have?
I don’t know if you or I qualify these as hand-me-downs or inheritance, but they certainly hold slightly more, but not by droves, charm than my aunt’s old wool skirt made into a poncho with red fringe.
I don’t know if my mom and grandma are watching from heaven proud of my quilting accomplishments, or not. I’ve never done this hoping from kudos from those in the great beyond.
Yet, even though I care not to admit such, and perhaps my mom and grandma had no idea of the possibility, I do sometimes wonder – will someone take up where I have left off when I pass? And should they wonder that I would have cared or not?
So, I’ll say it now. I know I’ll probably never complete all my projects, or my mother’s, perhaps not even my grandmothers. So, if my daughter or granddaughter, cousin, or friend feels the urge to take on these hand-me-downs of her own accord, for her own purposes, perhaps to finish what I started, and then finding joy and accomplishment in it herself, I can only hope that on the other side, I am, if even vaguely aware of such and able even to do nothing else, to place a spiritual hand on her shoulder and say “Well done, my sweet, enjoy your life and make it your own.”