Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Christmas Comes but Once Twice a Year

My mother-in-law, who has spent most of her life in Michigan, is moving to Atlanta this month. We are sad to see her go, but since she loves to travel, we're not worried that we won't see her after she goes.  Did I mention that I adore my mother-in-law? Seriously! We talk at least a few times a week, and she is my go-to person for parenting advice. Crazy, isn't it? Not if you know her.

Although we're a little sad that she's moving so far away, we're mostly excited that she's taking the initiative and moving on. So many people grow old and resist change, but here she is packing up and heading south. Not only that, but she is renting a furnished condo there and majorly downsizing furniture and other possessions, so if there were any reservations on our part (there weren't), they might have been helped by this conversation:

Jan: Since I'm leaving most of my stuff, let me know if there is anything you want.
Me: Anything?
Jan: Anything. Except my KitchenAid stand mixer.

This is my favorite piece that I got from her, and it's one I would have gotten anyway, because it was sitting in her basement! It's the dresser from my in-laws' first bedroom set back in the 70s. I love the flower details on two of the drawers. This is actually a "before" picture of it in my dining room, waiting to be painted.  've been looking for a buffet since we moved in, and I think this will look amazing once I am done with it. The color I will use is Farrow and Ball's Orangery. See the quart over by the window? I am kind of scared to use it, in case I can't go back to using regular paint after. At least there is a F&B retailer in Atlanta, so I can save on shipping by having my mother-in-law bring it back to me when she visits!

She also had a friend who was updating her dining room and getting rid of a china cabinet, table and chairs. Jan grabbed them for us, since she was getting a truck anyway to bring us her stuff. Did I mention they were free? Total score! They are 80's oak, and I know oak gets no love these days, but I really don't mind it. We live in a 1920's house, so we're surrounded by oak as it is. The cabinet is in the dining room, but I put the table and chairs in the kitchen. Jan was kind of appalled, but the day I have a matched dining room set, well, that will be the day.

I've got plans for this, too:

In addition to our furniture and various household goods, we got boxes and boxes of Christmas supplies.  The biggest change with Jan moving away is that she won't be hosting Christmas anymore. We've spent every Christmas at her house since Brad and I started dating. There was never any question about whose family we'd spend Christmas with, because Jan and Sam were such generous and welcoming people that they invited my dad to come spend Christmas with us at their house--and he did, every year. It will be nice not to have to travel over the holidays, and I know we'll enjoy making our own Christmas traditions.  It's kind of bittersweet though, because Jan will be here this year, but Brad's sister and her family will not.

At least the girls had a lot of fun going through the Christmas decorations, although I think they may be a bit early this year. I think it's fitting that they decorated the mantle with Jan's portrait--not that the rest of the house escaped unscathed, it just wasn't quite so elaborate.

So here's to Jan and this new phase of her life. I know it's going to be wonderful for her, because that's the kind of person she is. And here's hoping she will celebrate many happy Christmases in our house with us. Although we'll be missing quite a few people, if we can manage even a fraction of the grace, kindness and generosity she and Sam always exhibited, I will feel we've done our part in carrying on family traditions.


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