In the flurry of cleaning up for guests last week, I picked up a resin plaque that has been propped up on the piano for quite some time.We got it for free for Halloween two years ago, when someone rang the doorbell and left a bag of goodies on our doorstep (kind of like the May Day basket ring and run). We unpacked the paper bag to find a pile of candy, cute Halloween socks, and this plaque.One of the kids propped it in front of some decorative boxes that sit atop the console piano and left it there.The plaque doesn’t match anything in that room, though; in fact, it looks out of place in an already cluttered spot. During last-minute straightening and dusting this past week, I grabbed the plaque to stick in a pile of “Things to Deal With Later.” I was thinking of giving it away.My son was practicing piano as I moved around the room with the dust rag. When I snatched the plaque, he stopped.”I love that sign,” he said, a wistful tone to his voice.”Really?” I replied. “I thought it was just taking up space. And it doesn’t really match anything in the room here. In fact, I wasn’t sure where to hang it.”He swung around on the piano bench and sighed. “Whenever I think about running away, I just remember what that sign says and I know it’s true.””You’ve thought of running away?””Sometimes.””And the sign keeps you here?””Well, not the sign, but what it says…and means.”I looked at it again, read the phrases carefully, and looked back at my son.”I remember when we got it,” he said. “It was at Halloween that one year, in the Boo bag. I remember how surprised we were to find such a nice thing in that bag.” He stared into space for a moment. “I’ve loved it ever since,” he concluded. Then he turned to face the piano keys and started working on his solo, “Longing,” a decidedly mournful song in a minor key.I stared at the cheap resin sign. Obviously there was no getting rid of it now, so I moved through the rooms looking for a spot on one of the walls where I might display it with honor. And gratitude.This afternoon, as I was snapping some pictures of it, one of my daughters passed through the room. “I’ve always loved that sign,” she said, tilting her head slightly to admire it.
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April@The 21st Century Housewife says
I love this post – it’s beautifully written, and really meaningful. I’ve had similar things happen with bits and pieces around our house – things I’ve thought of parting with, that my son or husband will declare a meaningful fondness for. Isn’t it interesting how these things come our way?
Yes, and often I’ve actually let go of something, not realizing. I’m glad we caught the plaque and kept it instead of having one of the kids suddenly look up and ask, “Where’s that sign about family that we got for Halloween?” I’d hate to have to explain, “Um, well, I put it in the bag for Amvets to pick up last week.”
It isn’t necessarily the beautiful things that capture our hearts – it is, perhaps, a way of seeing them.
This was so touching Ann.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Yes…yes to what you said (and yes, I had a lovely Thanksgiving, though tiring, because we hosted).
This is such a sweet post, Ann. Isn’t it funny how we often overlook the things that one day will be what defines home? I’m glad you kept the sign.
I can’t believe he ever thought of running away! He’s kind of a homebody and seems so peaceful and content with the family that he adores. I’m going to try to probe a little deeper and find out what even brought the idea to his mind.
Hazel I. Moon says
This post really touched my heart! So sweet that the sign kept your son at least from acting on his thoughts to run away! 🙂
I have that sign hanging right above where he does much of his schoolwork. We’ll keep it, for sure!
Janet Macy says
What a breath of fresh air.
I thank God that you tried to move it when your son was there, and could hear his heart.
One year for Valentines Day, I put together a book for my parents. At the top of the page was written “I love you because:”
Each small page had something from my childhood that had touched me, had been important to me.
It was surprising how many of the things my parents did not remember. Or my siblings did not remember. We all view different things as important.
This reminded me to be more aware when I make changes in my home. Thank you for sharing this wonderful interaction.
Janet, this is such a great idea to reassure your parents that those moments have stuck with you. We do wonder, we parents, I think, if things matter.
Janet Macy says
Thanks for stopping by my blog today (Dec 8th) and responding to “let us remember”.
Regarding the pain and bad memories. If we allow it, they will become the best learning experiences. They will continue to encourage and strengthen us the rest of our lives.
I learned the hard way, that we have to face our feelings and bad memories HEAD-ON. The sooner the better.
It has taken me 6 years to finally feel comfortable in my own home and in my own yard; due to the tragedy that happened here (my son’s death 25 years ago in a farm accident) and the attack on my husband (6 years ago). A poacher cut off his nose and sliced his abdomen open just a short distance from our yard – stole his vehicle and left him for dead in the dark in the middle of the road.
My husband and I have finally gone a little over a year now without a nightmare. Thank you, Jesus.
5 years ago I was at the end of myself. LIterally ready to give up and ‘cash in’. It frightened me.
I found a christian counselor who helped me face my fears, anxieties, and panic attacks. She kindly pointed out my faulty thinking. I gradually started replacing those negative and faulty thoughts deliberately with positive ones. It then became a habit.
Some day I will take all my notes from our speaking engagements & write the stories of that night 6 years ago and how our God intervened on our behalf over and over and over again. It truly is a miraculous story.
We spent about 2 years as guest speakers at churches all over Kansas. People were touched and some turned to God.
Also the story of our son’s death and how God did NOT intervene on our behalf even tho all the same people were praying. We found that God was still on his throne. He was still with us. Never leaving us. Never deserting us. Holding our hands and crying with us as we traveled that horrific journey.
I’ve learned more these last few years through the tumult than I could ever have learned if the way had been smooth.
My motto. Life is tough. God is Good. Sometimes we get God mixed up with life.
My husband and I have been left in the storm and we been rescued from the storm. Both times He has been there. Fulfilling his promises of Isaiah 43. When we go thro the fire, the water, the floods HE WILL be with us.
Thanks for your comments. I’ve followed you for awhile now. I’ve been tempted to join your curiosity journal. Explain the concept to me.
I love how you are open and waiting for God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.
Wow, wow, wow. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your story with me here in the comments. Beautiful miracles…out of such shock and horror. You are a living testimony to the reality that God is with us, Emmanuel.
May the Lord continue to use you to transform lives by opening up your heart and letting others see the love and truth inscribed on it.
You kindly asked about the weekly Curiosity Journal. A few months ago, I saw that a friend, Monica Brand (PaperBridges.net) had launched it herself, but she has been a more sporadic blogger and didn’t keep up with it. So Monica, actually, is the one who picked those four words to sort of “round up” the activities, ideas, and thoughts of the week. Mine are totally random, as some weeks I don’t get a chance to read anything at all, so “reading” is sparse; then, like this past week, I actually read a chapter in that book and had some responses to it, so that category was unusually full while the others were more sparing.
You can do whatever you want with it, but I think of it as a summary of my week, and being a curious person, I like that it is somewhat focused on things I’m wondering about or learning that I can share with readers. Does that help explain it? There’s neither hard nor fast rules about what it can look like. Just have fun and make it your own!
Charity Singleton says
What a revelation that little plaque brought to you. So glad you didn’t get rid of it. Sometime in the future it may need to go, but at least now you know the goodbye it deserves.
Perhaps one day the kids and I can pass it along to another family…in a Boo bag, perhaps?
Or, maybe it will simply be a part of our household for the long run.
Susan DiMickele says
Yep, sometimes we need to look at the words right under our noses. Home is taking such a different meaning for me this year with aging parents and hurting friends — but I am so thankful for a place to go. Simple is good.
I am, too, Susan. I hope that we are able to continue creating a safe place of love so that home+family=blessing.
Diana Trautwein says
Thank you for this sweet story, so beautifully told. Perfect. And it is amazing what things speak love to our kids, isn’t it? Not always what we would expect.
Yes. I was taken by surprise, definitely.
Sheila Seiler Lagrand says
The meaning in things…a lesson I’m still working hard at. Thanks for this, Ann. It’s instructive for me.
Good point, Sheila. Just when you think things don’t matter, or shouldn’t, they suddenly matter deeply…an unexpected revelation.
I have a goofy little sign that I can’t part with, here in my home. It says simply: “Home isn’t a place. It’s people.” Sometimes, the simplest things mean the most.
Glad you kept the sign. (It’s quite pretty.) Equally glad that your children take notice of such things.
Beautifully written, too, Ann.
I remember you writing about that sign, and I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to give away that sign any time soon, either. One of your girls will ask for it when she’s married and setting up her own home. Or, she’ll come home and see it there, grin, loving it.
Hang onto it.
And thank you for your sweet note.
S. Etole says
What a revelation of the hearts of your children.
I loved peeking in. 🙂
Marilyn Yocum says
This was wonderful to read, Ann. My mom and I laughed many times, talking about the things I cherished growing up that she barely noticed. Same with my own kids. There are details they love to recall about their growing up and it’s often things that escaped my attention or esteeming. You’ve brought these things to mind and I thank you.
Marilyn, thank you for your story. I need to do the same for my mom and dad so that they can be sure that I hold some good memories from childhood with me to this day. And apparently I need to ask more frequently about my own kids’ memories.
Natalie Snapp says
SO good – isn’t it funny what they notice? I do love the message, too. A wonderful jolt of perspective on those days we need it the most.
Thank you for visiting my blog last week – your encouraging words were a balm. Love your blog!
Thank you for the kind note, Natalie. A “jolt of perspective.” Yes, it hit just like that. He thought of running away?? Bam.
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
Ah, the irony of a cheap plaque that you’ve never really cared about giving you a glimpse into your children’s hearts–how wonderful is that?
Also, I love the way you crafted the words here to create a sense of place. And your last line is perfect; I’m so glad you let it stand on its own. It has more power that way, yes?
Ah, I’m very glad to read what your writer’s eye noted about the ending. Intentional choice not to reflect. Sometimes a little extra reflection adds; sometimes it detracts. I chose to just end there, and I’m delighted that you felt it worked!
Cheryl Smith says
Out of the mouths of babse…
Cheryl Smith says
You know, Babse, that girl that dropped off the boo bag and ran?
I wondered if it was Babse, the Flemish girl who lives around the corner! (I couldn’t stand it–had to find out if there are any “Babse” names out there, and found a young woman who graduated from Ghent University, so I assume she’s Flemish: https://www.facebook.com/BabseMieken )
Funny to google my facebook and see that someone mentioned me in a blog al those years ago.
I do think you’ve got the wrong Babse.
I am flemish indeed. From Belgium and have no idea what your talking about here 😁
Ann Kroeker says
This is long ago, and I don’t remember much about it either (other than my child wanting to run away!). Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for checking in.