This year, we have been sharing our Labor of Love stories with you. Some have been about products and some have been about personal experiences, but they’ve all reflected on our appreciation for the handmade, the hard-won, and the heartfelt. To honor this weekend’s holiday, we wanted to pay tribute to the biggest labor of love of all: motherhood. We hope you enjoy our stories—and feel inspired to share one of your own with us. Or, even better, share it with the special ones near to you.
Much as it pains me to admit, I am a grown-up. A full-blown adult. Now that I’m in my late 30s, I am staring maturity full in the face. I’m also stringing it around my neck, setting my table with it, and placing it around my home: I wear my mom’s jewelry, own the same set of fancy china, and decorate with her things.
It started with a pair of bright orange glass candlesticks from the ’60s. I thought they were funny, and they matched my sofa. That was 15 years ago. In the intervening period, my mom’s stuff stopped looking so-ugly-they’re-cute and started looking…cool.
These days, I regularly ask my mom if I can have certain items—mostly pieces from my childhood. A few months ago, she called to say she’d seen a full set of our family china at a consignment shop. Those delicate plates and cups we only used on holidays, that I was always terrified of breaking—did I want them? You bet.
I am now moving into a new house. Soon I’ll head up to Seattle to pick up my latest hand-me-down: the dining room set my mom inherited from her mom. The next time we sit down for a family dinner—in my house, with my mom’s china pattern and my grandmother’s table—I’ll celebrate my mother’s influence. And I’ll celebrate that growing up is as much about leaving childish things behind as it is about reclaiming them.