Today while reading Cath’s blog on her Grandmother’s hankies and rosary, I was put in mind of my own button box. Given to my grandmother by her mother, and given to my mother by grandmother, and inherited by me upon the death of my mother.

An old tin, the lid with painted yellow roses. The lid is yellowed with age and worn from the countless times female hands have pried open the lid to take off buttons. Buttons that were cut from work shirts and baby clothes. Buttons that still had snippets of thread and fabric attached from whatever garment it served.

From my perspective, more important than the buttons it contained, were the memories it contained. The button on the left had once adorned my mothers coat. The one she wore when she was pregnant with me. The little pink button once held closed my house coat when I was a little girl. Some of the buttons have been in there a very long time. This photo holds some of the things I know that have been there as long as I can remember. (See the cootie eye???)

These things. The buttons. The hankies. Threads that tie us to our female ancestors. Each memory imbued with the love and the strength of those women that existed before us.
These two pictures of someones sewing machine…what is left of the owners manual, have been in that button box for as long as I can remember. I don’t even recognize the machine. The cover stained with coffee, from the countless cups that were placed on the manual so as not to leave a ring on the cabinet of the machine. So precious to me.

This button box testifies to the indomitable spirit that carried my mother and her mother and HER mother and now carries me, through times of tenderness and hardship. Someday, I will give this to my daughter (who I already KNOW has the same indomitable spirit!) I hope it will strengthen her as it has me.

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