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Losing a parent is never easy. For me, the loss of my mother also equated to the loss of our family keeper. The recipe remember-er, the re-teller of funny and sometimes true stories, the arbitrator of family history (not to mention all those dates, locations, and relations).
There are moments even now when I stop and think, “If only I could ask Mom.” Instead, for better or worse, I am now our family keeper, or, more aptly, our family can-you-remember-er with what details I do recall.
There are three things that I wish my mother had Artifcted. Of course, she would have to do it old school, with scrapbooks or maybe journals with photos inserted since nothing like Artifcts existed yet.
1. Her recipes.
My mother was an amazing cook, baker, and overall entertainer. Her cookies, cakes, and pies were famous, as was her award-winning blueberry buckle. I was fortunate to grow up watching her cook and learning the recipes by sight. Still. There are some substitutions I am left to guess. Some ingredients I am left to wonder, “Did she really put this in the recipe?” And some recipes that I simply can’t find and have yet to replicate. I KNOW she cooked them; I remember the dishes, and most of the ingredients. Where is the recipe?
2. Her jewelry.
My mother had some beautiful pieces of jewelry, but she was the only one that knew the stories behind them. I am left to guess at the details and try to piece together the who, what, when, where, and WHY. These are the details I would love to pass down to my daughter along with the actual jewelry, but I’m stuck relying on my six-year-old memory of what she might have told me the umpteenth time she caught me going through her jewelry box.
3. Her books.
Or rather, her favorite book(s). My mother was an avid reader, with 1000s of books in her collection. Some were old and well-loved; others were brand new and never opened. I wish I knew which books left an impact on her as a young adult and as an aging adult. Which ones did she go back to again and again? I’ll never know these little pieces of my mother that have somehow taken on even greater weight now that she is gone.
I cannot change the past, so instead of being sad about what I do not have, I have turned it around to be glad and proactive about what I do have. I have my stories, my memories, and my history that I am busy creating every day. I have an inquisitive and smarter than smart daughter that is my everything.
So, what do I do? I Artifct for her, and whoever comes after her. I tell her my story, one Artifct at a time. I share with her all the details—big and small—that make me, well, me. And although she may not be ready to hear everything I have to say (I am after all “way vintage” if you ask her), I take comfort knowing that one day she will appreciate those details, and she will know me. The real me. I will not be a mystery to my daughter. She’ll have my Artifcts.
Consider gifting the mom in your life Artifcts. Imagine all those "I never knew that about you!" moments that await.
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