The kids and I went to stay with my mom and stepdad last week for a couple of nights. I told Mom to make a list of things she needed done so that we could get a few things checked off while we were there. One of the things that she was working up the nerve to tackle was organizing her cookbooks and recipes.
At first glance, it seemed like an easy enough job for the two of us to conquer. It was more a matter of eliminating things than it was of overhauling anything. But, therein lay the problem. How do you get rid of cookbooks and recipes that pull at your heartstrings?
The cookbooks were a fairly black and white operation, and I am thrilled to say that I am the beneficiary of some throwbacks to the ‘70s that my grandmothers had given to my mom. I love old cookbooks, and I love memories of my grandmas’ homemade goodies. I especially love the cookbooks that were actually theirs—ones that bear their handwritten notes in the margins.
The recipes were a little more difficult just because of their sheer number. Mom had been given a recipe box when she got married to my dad forty-some years ago and it was stuffed to its maximum capacity with recipes–and had a tidy stack lying beside it. That old recipe box is well past its prime, but it is a family heirloom for sure. Many of the recipes in it represented people who have greatly impacted my mom’s life—or even my life—and hold a special place in her heart. And, several of those souls are now walking the streets of gold with Jesus, which makes these little remnants of their time on earth even more valuable.
So, laughing and crying, we sorted through every single card and slip of paper. I don’t know how many recipes we touched that day, but it was hundreds. We got rid of all of the ones that Mom had been meaning to try but hadn’t yet gotten around to it. We also made sure to save all of the handwritten ones, family favorites and ones with special memories attached to them. We talked and sorted, chatted and filed. It was a nice morning.
In their own little way, all of those family recipes were a little legacy left to my mom. Where someone else might have seen smudged index cards, spidery handwriting and folded newspaper clippings, my mom saw people she loved and the investment they had made in her. That’s remarkable, really. Our memories are such precious resources of those who have gone before us.
What memories are you making today? What legacy are you leaving? Time is short and life is sweet. Make it good.