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

This post was originally published on January 24, 2008.

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 my 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 sixty-something woman 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.

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

  1. katherine@raisingfive says:

    Hope you’re enjoying your breather – so fun to catch up with you! “My daughter’s hands” was the first post I read of yours that made me cry (was that really in 2006, and can she really be almost 4 now?). Now you go and do it again…
    Love to you and your family,

  2. Lisa says:

    How lovely. I have several things like this framed in my nursery. They are some of my most precious possessions. Thanks for sharing. I put a current photo of my Dad tipped in the corner of the old sketch. That might help your daughter make the connection eventually. Lisa~

  3. pam at beyondjustmom says:

    I have a photograph of my mother-in-law at about age 4, lined up with her mother and 5 aunties in a classic 40’s picture. She looks just like my daughter today, and it takes my breath away too. I have it framed on our mantle. Seeing the family resemblance is really amazing!

  4. Bobbie says:

    That is so awesome! It amazes me when people have things from older family members. I don’t have stuff like that. It is a treasure. What a tangible beautiful piece of history you have.

  5. Lainie@ Mishmash Maggie says:

    I apologize for being so practical at such a sweet moment but if you’re really going to frame the original and not a copy of the drawing please, please make sure you ask for museum quality UVA/UVB glass to protect it from sun damage.
    It would be such a loss to have it destroyed by the sunlight.

  6. Angela Gallman says:

    PRICELESS TREASURE are two words not nearly big enough for what you hold! What a wonderful blessing for all of you! I’m so choked up and teary eyed! That’s one of the best blog entries I’ve read! Thanks for sharing.

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