My maternal grandmother gave me this doll in 1958 when I was eleven and she was sixty-eight. It had been a Christmas gift to her when she was a little girl, one of four little girls in her family, each of whom received one. The doll has a porcelain head, feet and hands and a kidskin body stuffed with sawdust. Remarkably well preserved, she sits on my bedroom dresser, greeting me each morning as I brush my hair. She now belongs to my eleven year old granddaughter who lets me keep it until she is certain she can keep it safe.
We treasure such gifts because we know that they were given with love. Without saying it in words, my grandmother was gifting me with something precious to her. I felt honored and recognized by her. She knew that I would treasure it. Now that she has been gone for forty years, I remember her and her love when I see that doll. Objects can connect us in that way. We can demean the attachment by calling it “sentimental,” but we can choose instead to enjoy the link they can form between us and the gift giver.
Looking around my house, I see many things that I have been given by those dear to me. A little blue glass bird came from an old neighbor who knew I needed cheering up. I am wearing sea otter socks, given me by my husband who knows I adore those animals. Look around your own place and think about the people who know you or knew you and gifted you with a little something to show their love for you. May you have joy in the remembering.