I remember when I once thought I was unique. I was in high school, and decided that I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to inspire children, and be a role model, and show them the amazing things in the universe! And I thought I was pretty special for pursuing that line of work.
In addition to that, I continued pursuing music. Guitar, piano, flute, violin, djembe… I could pluck out basic chords or tunes for just about any instrument I picked up (except for trumpet-ish style ones… could never get the lip pphhhbbbbtt action right…), and could sight-sing just about anything. Then in college, I studied music education and specialized in ensembles, interning with four choirs and one orchestra, and was in love with this idea that one person (the conductor) could bring together literally hundreds of people into one voice to create something so magnificent and awe-ful. And I thought I was all that and a bag of fermatas.
Then, towards the end of college, I started crafting and knitting and sewing and cooking; I love to create things, and go through the artistic process of finding exactly what I my mind’s eye is seeing, and duplicating that in reality. I viewed myself (somewhat arrogantly) as an “artist” with food, and thought that I was just simply gifted! and unique and special, and basically the bees knees.
It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I realized… my dad sings and plays the guitar…my mom sings and plays the piano…my mom loves to teach, and home-schooled my brother and I all the way…almost all five of my uncles on my mom’s side are one or more of the following: musical, teachers, artists, art or music teachers, potters, wood craftsmen, canoe builders, cabin builders….my mom grew up sewing and doing 4-H…my cousin is the lead singer/guitarist in a band…my GRANDPA of all people can sew…my other grandfather grew just about every tropical fruit in his back yard for years…my grandmother loved crafts and always had a new project going on until she entered a nursing home…my great aunt is an exquisite knitter and painter…and my great great great grandmother was an expert tatter and maker of lace…
I guess all that is to say, that I’m really not that special if you look at my family tree. All of these things that I love to do and love to be a part of are in my blood, and have preceded me for generations. And at first, I was tempted to be deflated when I realized that I wasn’t as rad as I thought I was. But the void that my aplomb left when it evaporated with all the hot air was filled with a thankfulness and a joy in the privilege that I have to carry on my family’s traditions and trade! How blessed am I to be given these gifts, and this love for creativity, in order to share the thread that my family has woven through generations! From all the way back to when they came over on the Mayflower, or when they found refuge here as they escaped Vietnam in 1979, these loves and creativities have been there and they have now been passed down to me. Though I know as a human being I am unique and there isn’t a single person exactly like me, being a part of a greater tapestry of creatives means so much more to me now.
My husband and I were able to meet up with my aforementioned great aunt during our latest trip cross country, and while showing us some of her beautiful quilting work, she brought our attention to the gorgeous lace and tatting work in the photos here in this post. She had found boxes of this lace from her grandmother (or was it great-grandmother?) and was now carefully affixing each piece to this white linen, and repairing and duplicating some of the damaged areas. She also added some beaded sparkles, because I’m sure she would agree that everything can always use a bit more sparkle =).
This is her trusty sewing machine (they seriously don’t make them like this anymore). It is made out of metal, and still works like a charm at 50 years old and counting. If anyone knows of anyone selling something like this, I am in the market to buy!
I know this wasn’t a recipe or DIY or kitchen tip or anything you can really “use,” but it was just so special to see this part of my family history and I hoped you all would enjoy seeing it as well. And I hope you can look back in your family history to see those things that you have in common, in your own unique way, with those that have raised you and your parents, and be thankful and grateful for the heritage that they have given you! What are some common threads that you share with your family tree?