I’ve been feeling tremendously sentimental lately. I wish I could say, oh, I’m emotional about x or y, but that isn’t it. I’m just sentimental in general. Now, I have done some things lately that could be a logical source of nostalgia. For example, I’ve been missing my mom lately. And last week I unpacked my grandmother’s china.
This china is not her wedding china, or anything like that. When I was a little girl, I always admired it particularly, through the glass-front china cabinets in her dining room. So she promised it to me, and told me its’ story. She purchased this set (for 12) to throw a party for a friend of hers. I never knew who the friend was, but even as a girl I used to think, “how southern and old-fashioned, to throw a party like that.”
So I have had the china, packed in boxes, since 2000. Wow, that’s a long time. And finally, I pulled it out, because I do so damn much entertaining these days I figured I need a way to make special dinners for just me and SweetiePie special again…
Another china story: I vividly remember declaring,when I was a teenager, that when I grew up I was going to use that beautiful china all the time because I was going to be important, and I was going to have important people to dinner all the time. Please imagine this statement said in my best Ramona Quimby voice. Well, I don’t know about the important part, but I’m sure setting a lot of tables.
In fact, I unpacked grandma’s china on the same day we brought the official college presidential china in from storage. Setting for 24. Good grief. I had to turn the cabinets in my library into a butler’s pantry!
So back to the sentimental point. I don’t actually think it is the china, or the wedding invites, or the recent facebook friends I’ve made, that is causing my emotional sentimentality. I think it is connected to how incredibly fortunate I am feeling.
A week or so ago, I was at dinner and I said to a woman, “I am just really grateful that I can go to bed at night and know that what I am doing matters.” ( I do feel that way, incidentally, between being an ambassador for the college at this crucial time and writing my book. ) We say that sort of thing to each other all the time, SweetiePie and I do, because we are focused massively on making the college a place that changes student’s lives, and on helping our faculty become effective teachers who make that change happen. We think that matters a lot.
Bu the look the woman gave me in response… It was a combination of total lack of comprehension and a little envy. Her look of incomprehension startled me into this sentimental state of gratitude; she was a successful, prominent and wealthy woman. But she did not really seem to understand doing work that matters.
I realized at that moment that I am really lucky for so many reasons, from my work at the college and in the community, to the gorgeous geography where we live, to being in an epic love affair with my own husband whom I respect and admire.
Given the roller coaster ride life has provided for me so far, I do not take these things for granted, dear readers. I promise.