There a lot of traditions and rituals that we have with the twins. Bluebells being the most obvious one. We have smaller ones – the twins eat a big cooked breakfast every Saturday and Sunday. In the evening we watch Abney and Teal together. I put together an unashamedly sentimental slide show for their birthdays. And we have our bedtime rituals which include singing a refrain of “Goodnight, Sweetheart” (yes really) and me constantly checking on them once their asleep.
Sometimes I wonder if my desire for traditions falls in line with the near-desperate feeling to keep things as stable and secure for the twins as possible. Their life is a bastion of security and warmth. There is no need to be so, well…religious about wanting normalcy for them. First of all, their life is normal. Secondly, there is no such thing as normal.
When I was a kid, we’d visit my great-grandparents in Des Moines. My great-grandparents lived in a little house in the city, although when they’d moved in as newlyweds it was to a house set in the countryside (which reminds me so much of this book that it’s unreal). They were giving and loving people, and as I age my memories fade of them. Some things I will always remember – there was a doorframe in their home that had the measurement heights and ages of their children, grand-children, and great-children as we all aged. My great-grandma had a perpetual and dizzying array of condiments in the middle of their kitchen table at all times.
And my great-grandma had a dresser in the kitchen, with drawers filled to the brim with jewelry.
She would let us play with it, strange and marvelous things, costume jewelry, real pieces, you name it. I don’t remember anything being off limits, and there was any number of things to tuck on fingers, drape on your wrists, and clip over your ears.
One thing always stuck out, though.
My great-grandma had lots of strings of what we called pop beads. They were brightly colored and ridiculously long in my memory, however my memory is of course stuck at a young age with these memories. Maybe they’re regular length. Regardless, all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren had photos taken of them positively swimming in said necklaces. I don’t have a photo of them, and as a result of things being the way they are, they’ll always be a snapshot in my mind – me wearing layers upon layers of pop beads in peacock layers of purple, blue and green.
When my great-grandma died she was survived by my great-grandpa. He wasn’t really altogether in those years and their possessions were set upon by greedy survivors who lived in the area, as it the usual in most families. I know my side of the family made it there, and I know that they managed to save a few items from the hordes. Those pop beads were rescued, I know.
Last year while in the States I asked for the pop beads to be sent to my Dad’s house, just so that I could let the twins see them, let them hold them, let them try them on. I wouldn’t have kept them, I swore it (and I meant it). I even offered a deposit. My requests were met with deaf ears and I guess to some extent I get that. Why trust me with them?
But of all the traditions out there that I would want for the twins from traditions I knew, the pop beads were amongst them.
It’s ok. It is. We make new traditions, and it’s good. New things are good, as long as they’re happy, secure, stable things.
Sometimes, I just wish they could know a moment of my great-grandma.
And maybe someday, they’ll understand her through my eyes and the handful of photos I have of her.
PS – tomorrow, a new post is up here from me.