If There’s a Sweeter Treasure, I Don’t Know What It Would Be

Last week my grandmother stopped by for a visit; she had brought a folder of some of her old drawings and paintings to show my youngest son (himself a budding artist).  I have many memories of my grandmother painting and drawing, but I don’t remember seeing much of her actual work.  Characteristically, she is modest and quiet about it, and she can’t imagine why anyone would want to see what she has made. 

And so, as she rifled through the folder with my son, I walked up behind her with great interest, to see what all she had done.  The folder was full of years’ worth of work, some dating back to the 1940’s, and she blushingly let me look through it all. 

PencildrawingBut one drawing made my heart jump.  It’s a pencil drawing on yellowing paper, dated 1949.  It’s of a little girl with delicate features, a classic ’40’s bobbed haircut, and a short little dress.

It’s my mother in 1949 (age 3), drawn by grandmother (age 23). 

Even as I type these words, my own three-year-old daughter is sitting next to me, her head on my shoulder and her fingers poking the computer screen.

"Is dat Corrie?" she asks.  It does kind of look like her.

"No, it’s Mimi," I explain.  She looks at me.  I can see the puzzlement in her eyes.  To her, Mimi is a grown up with an unending source of hugs and root beer. 

"Mimi was once a three-year-old girl just like you,"  I tell her.  "Her momma drew pictures of her, the same way I write stories about you." 

She thinks about this for a second, and then she scampers off for more engaging conversation with Dora the Explorer.  But I’m left with the wonder of this drawing, the tangible, almost mystical evidence of a mother who loved her girl, who grew up to love her girl, who grew up to love her girl.

I’m having the picture framed for Corrie’s bedroom.  She won’t understand the beauty of it now.  But when, Lord willing, she has a three-year-old daughter, it will take her breath away.

81 thoughts on “If There’s a Sweeter Treasure, I Don’t Know What It Would Be

  1. The Secret Life of Kat says:

    Wow. Isn’t it amazing when life comes full circle like that?
    You should print this post and put it inside the frame, so that you’re daughter will be sure to always know the story (and sentiment) behind the picture…

  2. Multi-Tasking Mommy says:

    That is VERY, VERY special!
    I can appreciate how unique and special that is. My Mom has a painting of my grandmother when she was 2. The painting looks exactly like my Mom did when she was 2 AND like me when I was 2!

  3. Edi says:

    What a wonderful treasure! And what a treasure that YOUR grandma is still with you and able to share her work with your son.

  4. Amy says:

    My great-grandma was an artist. She painted (mostly barns). Recently my mom built a chapel in a very particular style (http://aberdeenmanor.com/the%5Fchapel/) to go with the ballroom and event center she owns. After the design was finalized, during the construction, we unearthed a painting that my great-grandma had done (her grandma). It’s the only painting of a church that anyone remembers her doing, and the shape of the building and the windows is identical to the chapel my mom built. It was totally eerie.
    Anyway, her paintings are treasured heirlooms in this family. I have two, and they are among the things I’d save from a fire.
    What a gift that your grandmother is still living, and is able to give these to you and to tell you the stories!

  5. Amy says:

    My Grandmother was also a very modest artist. For some reason she quit painting and drawing long before I was born, but we have her framed drawing of my Grandpa’s (her husband) Army picture when he enlisted for WWII. It is on display in one of my parents guest rooms, and is such a classic portrait of such a handsome young man. We will treasure it always.

  6. rsd says:

    WOW!
    When I first saw the picture I thought it was Corrie, too. Then as I read I figured it was a picture of you. What a surprise to hear that it was picture of Mom! All of you look so much alike.

  7. Jamie says:

    Last Christmas, my mother-in-law sent every one of her kids a binder full of her art (starting with her fashion designs in college through her latest painting), pictures she had of that child, poems she wrote, and favourite family recipes. She sends updates every Christmas of that year’s paintings. It will be one of the first things I grab if we ever have to evacuate the house.

  8. Char says:

    What a great story, and an even wonderful gift for your daughter. It even made me tear up a bit thinking of my daughter and the legacy I leave her.

  9. LizB says:

    That is so wonderful. I have been helping to archive a lot of my grandparents’ memories and pictures and it is just priceless when you find a treasure like that.
    My husband’s grandma was also an artist. She has an awesome story about one of her paintings that she had done in college. She gave it to a friend, and then fourty years later, she found it at the D.I. (second-hand store)! Sad that it had been given away, but it became one of her favorite paintings because of the story!

  10. Jenna says:

    Your post made me cry (isn’t that funny… someone you’ve never met and have lurked on thier blog periodically and their words can still touch you that deeply). I am at the point in my life where I am psychologically ready to have a child and pass on that type of memory (now if I could just get the finances in order)…

  11. jennielynn says:

    My husband has a certificate from his late father’s naval days. We framed it and hung it in our son’s nursery. We named him for his grandfathers and I hope he treasures it when he grows into a man.
    What a beautiful legacy for your daughter.

  12. Reynie says:

    There is something so mystical that happens when you think about your grown, adult parents being innocent children. What a wonderful blessing to have that drawing. And I’m positive your little girl will love it.

  13. DaisyCake says:

    what a priceless and wonderful picture for you and for your daughter! Can your grandmother still draw? It would be really neat if she could draw a picture of your daughter now! Frame them side by side!

  14. GiBee says:

    Wow! I thought you were going to say your grandmother drew C!!! It DOES look like her! (well, pictures I’ve seen of her, anyway!)
    How precious!

  15. Regina says:

    Wow, that is awesome, moments like that don’t come along often1 I hope she publishes her works into a book, that would be great!
    BTW – come by and grab the daily dose award.

  16. edj says:

    Your grandmother is very talented, but what takes it over the top is that special connection. Corrie will treasure that someday. Lucky you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Even as I sit here with my sweet baby boy on my lap, I am saddened by the fact that, out of a long line of women and their daughters, I am the last…I have three sons…no daughters.
    Treasure your little girl, and the history the women of your family share!

  18. AprilMay says:

    Even as I sit here with my sweet baby boy on my lap, I am saddened by the fact that, out of a long line of women and their daughters, I am the last…I have three sons…no daughters.
    Treasure your little girl, and the history the women of your family share!

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