One of my favorite descriptors of the Enneagram 2 wing 3 (which I just happen to be) is that we “focus on relationships, excessive friendliness, exaggerated sentimentality and histrionic displays”. In fact, I often joke that “exaggerated sentimentality and histrionic displays” should be on my tombstone.
I am the person who cries during the National Anthem AND Rocky Top. I often tear up over the silliest things – including commercials that depict any type of strong parent/child relationship. But by far, the thing that pulls on my heart strings the most is the legacy of family. My family means the world to me.
Having said that, some of the things I now have in my home that I cherish the most are things that were in the homes of my grandparents during all of my childhood and adult years. I have my maternal grandmother's writing desk and my maternal grandfather's leather chair. I have an oil painting of my mother's childhood home and framed photos from the 1940's. It means so much to me to have some of their things in my home as legacy and sentiment are so important to me.
I was blessed to have all four grandparents in the same town for all of my life. In fact, they lived less than 1/2 mile from each other. We lost my paternal grandfather first in his 80's, then my paternal grandfather in his 90's, followed by my maternal grandmother at 97 and finally my last living grandparent, my paternal grandmother, just a couple of weeks ago. When I was asked about any of the things I might want from her home, I knew exactly what I wanted. And I was pretty sure no one would fight me for them.
Yes, these might possibly be the tackiest lamps you’ve ever seen. In fact, I once thought they were porcelain only to find out they are actually made of plastic. But let me tell you why they mean the world to me.
These lamps adorned a small dresser that sat on the wall to the right side of the bed in the bedroom I slept in at my grandmother’s house for fifty years of visits. We affectionately called it the “pink room” because the bedding and all of the décor was clearly pink. These lamps fit right in if that can give you any indication about the design palette.
If I sat for long to think about it, I bet I could share hundreds of stories that those lamps bring to mind. But for your sake, I'll just share a few.
For years, we would travel to Missouri to the home of my grandparents for Christmas. Santa knew to find me there. I spent more than a few Christmas Eve’s staring at those pink lamps willing myself to go to sleep so Santa could come. (Funny side story – if I turned to the other side of the bed, there was a window that faced the road that ran in front of my grandparents house. Across the road was what could be called a "beer joint" in that neck of the woods. Through the window, I could see the flashing lights of a neon beer sign that adorned the front of the "establishment". Before I was old enough to know better, I thought the flashing was from the lights on Santa’s sleigh, so I would immediately turn my back to the window when I got a glimpse of them, so he wouldn’t know I was still awake when he landed on the roof).
As I became a teenager, I can recall staring at those lamps often dreaming about boyfriends back at home I couldn’t wait to talk to or see again (cell phones were not a thing and there was no long distance calling from Grandma’s house. Three or four days away was an ETERNITY to a 16-year-old girl). On the first visit as a married woman I stared at them feeling a tad awkward about sharing a bed at my grandmother's house with a man.
As a young mom I stared at them while trying to coax my babies to go to sleep in an unfamiliar home. As a mom of teenagers I stared at them wanting my own kids to understand the rich heritage and blessings of the legacy they were experiencing in a small town that likely felt less than exciting and appealing to them.
In more recent years as my grandparents began to grow older and physical difficulties began to set in, I often stared at them while praying for healing and eventually peace as God called each of them home forever.
To the eye of anyone else, they look like dirty, broken, gaudy lamps that likely should have seen a dumpster years ago, but to me they represent blessings I will hold in my heart until I'm reunited with all of my grandparents in Heaven one day. I’m not sure I will ever find just the right spot in my own home to display them (and they are barely holding it together), but they will at least stay close to me in a closet until the day comes that my children easily part with them as they’ll no longer hold the same value. It’s definitely true what they say, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And treasure them I will...with exaggerated sentimentality and no apologies for it.
Stephani Cook is a life coach, speaker, writer and creator of On Purpose Coaching. Through On Purpose Coaching she helps others to improve relationships and to discover intentional abundant living. She does that through several services including group and/or individual coaching, live event speaking or Enneagram workshops in private and corporate settings.
To connect with Stephani visit her website http://www.stephanicook.org.