Friday, March 14, 2014


When I was growing up and we would drive the 17+ hours to visit my grandparents' house in Utah, I fondly remember sitting in their living room listening to the chatter...Grandad telling stories about growing up on the ranch in Colorado...Gram sharing her opinion on domestic things...favorite family stories retold with embellishment and laughter and love. When I went to college and lived a scant 15 minutes away from them, I would visit them for dinner--which was always fabulous.  Gram would take me into the kitchen and put me to work, teaching me about lighter-than-air dinner rolls and that there should always be freezer jam ready to use. After the abundant meal (including dessert--Grandad would try to convince everyone that we should eat dessert first, but Gram would always make him wait until the end) we'd move into the living room where Grandad would teach me about politics and economics and living the Gospel...with Gram sharing her experiences and life lessons alongside him.

I miss them.

So when my Grandad passed away last spring on Miss B's birthday, a few years after my Gram had passed away, and their house had to be sorted out and sold...the only thing that I wanted was a picture that had been hanging on the wall in that living room for as long as I could remember. The picture is made up of several pieces of paper, each cut in different ways, then layered together to make an image of a bouquet of flowers.
As a child, I would stare at that picture for hours during the family talks...amazed by the intricate cutting...trying to figure out what each piece of paper would look like if they were separated...fascinated by the layering all the pieces together to make one beautiful Whole.

It is all I wanted to remember them by.

My mom didn't tell me that she had gotten this picture for me. I thought it was gone. But when she came for Miss Z's blessing day...she brought it as a baby gift for our new little one.

To me, it represents my time with them. It reminds me of the layers of family history and and our children. Each generation layering a complex and beautiful addition to the final product that is our family.

When we were expecting our little Miss Zell, we wanted her to have a connection to the layers of our family history, which is why we choose my Gram's name for Miss Z's middle name. It was our way to line up those layers of our family--to continue making that beautiful Whole with our children adding their layer to the top. It was inspired and surprising and perfect to have this picture be the baby gift for my Gram's namesake.

While I wish that my grandparents could have been here for Miss Z's blessing day...having my favorite thing to remember them by was as good as I could get.
My sister, Whitney, and her family, my parents, us, and Dr. C's parents. (Whitney's husband was taking the picture).

Miss Z wearing the blessing gown that my mom made for me when I was blessed. Miss B also wore it for her blessing day. That dress also has layers.
Could she be any cuter? No, I think not. Too bad she screamed through her whole blessing though!
There is something inside each of us that wants our personal journey to add another layer to the complexity of life stories that came before us while also adding another layer for those that come after us to build upon. It is a part of us that yearns for a link to our past and a connection to our future.  As we add layer after layer--our parents' story, our parents' parents' story, our children's story, our children's children's story--we make a beautiful Whole picture.

Miss Z is just beginning to add her layer and I am excited to see what it will look like.

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