Amy had been a Consider This listener and respondent for quite some time. She often dropped a note to say how much she enjoyed a story or that some theme brought back good memories. This time, her message was a long one. This time, she had her own story to tell.
Here is the true story sent in by Amy. Listen in.
The Mason Jar of Buttons- #634
Spending time with my mother has always been special. Now that she is slowly slipping away to dementia, it is even more important. Mom has trouble focusing and remembering. So I look for things that will engage her. This day, I was thinking about buttons.
In the depression years, women wasted nothing. When a shirt or dress was too worn to wear, it was cut into pieces to make rag rugs, and the buttons were saved to reuse. Living in that time, my grandmother kept her buttons in a mason jar.
Decades ago, my mother had given it to me.
That simple mason jar had traveled with me from house to house, unopened, chuck full of buttons. Why did I keep them? I knew I would never use them… but I cherished them as part of my mother’s history.
As I dumped all those buttons into a bowl in front of her, a huge smile lit up my mother’s face. Running her fingers through them, she chattered on about what those buttons said to her. What kind of clothing they were on, who would have worn them and when. As she did, my heart swelled that I could bring her this measure of contentment.
How inclined we are to discard things from our past. If I had tossed that jar, unopened for two decades, I would never have seen my mother’s smile of recognition – at the mason jar full of buttons.
Thank you for letting me share this with you. Somehow, I knew you would understand.
So what’s the moral of the story? Keep every nostalgic old thing, just in case? Maybe not. But a certain amount of nostalgia is a good thing. And lifting the edge of the tent and getting a peek at the past usually provides a warm, fuzzy feeling. So perhaps hiding a mason jar of buttons, somewhere along the way, can deliver unexpected joy – or at least reverence.