Pyrex bowls. So simple, right? Mine are old and faded, the paint hardly visible on bowls number two and four. They’re nesting in my kitchen cabinet right now. And today of all days – Veteran’s Day – I feel so lucky to have them. I know Veteran’s Day is a day to honor ALL types of veterans, but this year in particular, I am thinking the most of my grandparents (and really all members of the Greatest Generation) on Veteran’s Day.
I’ve been obsessed with that generation for a long time. It baffles and amazes me to think of being a wife or a mother during a World War (or any war!!), and I can’t believe the closest thing I had to personally knowing what it was like is gone during WWII (can you tell I love history?).
But, I have the Pyrex bowls. Those were hers – she passed away last December, and her sister, the last of the six siblings from my grandma’s side, passed away last month. An entire generation of our family gone (let me catch my breath). I picked the bowls up fast when my mom asked if I wanted them after she and her sister and brother boxed up and doled out the family belongings of two amazing women (can you imagine!?).
Of course I wanted them. Not because Pyrex dishes are timeless. Not because you can microwave them, stick them in the dishwasher, and keep them FOR LIFE (already proven). Not because I needed another set of nesting bowls.
I wanted them because my grandma used them. In everyday life.
Because that’s where I am. Everyday life. I’m in the doesn’t-get-easier-no-thanks-for-this-job-never-ending-day called motherhood. I love it and loathe it at the same exact time. And, wasn’t she right where I am? I want to know – did she love it and loathe it?
Our lives aren’t totally parallel even though we’re both mothers – she didn’t have Facebook, year-round sports, or a microwave. But, then again, I don’t have a husband coming home from serving in WWII, a full-time secretarial job where I write in SHORT-HAND, and the innocence to let my kids ride freely through the neighborhood until dark. Our “everyday” looks so different but since our Pyrex bowls aren’t different at all, I am thinking we might have some similarities. Times change. Mothers don’t. Right?
I’ve used those Pyrex bowls as much as I can, I choose those every time over every other bowl because I want to think of her. I wish I could talk to her while I use them:
Were you this exhausted when you were making salad for your family? I am.
Were your kids fighting when you made pancakes that morning? Mine are.
How did you feed your family day after day without complaining? Or did you complain and I just wasn’t born to hear it? I am complaining, and I am sure you can hear me (are you smiling?).
Did you worry you were doing everything wrong as your stirred? I think I might be screwing them all up.
Did my mom make brownies with her friend in one of these bowls? Your great granddaughter and her friend are. And they’re listening to Taylor Swift’s new album.
Did these Pyrex bowls make you such an amazing cook that your family kept coming back to you again and again – even when they were grown? I could really use some of your cooking skills, Gram.
Those are the kinds of questions I would ask her right now if I could. I would ask her the what, when, where, why, and how. The basics. I want to know what she did when my mom (at age 4) refused to eat the dinner she made; where she kept the clutter that kids bring; why she made the choices she made; and how she managed to raise a family who loved her until the very end.
There are so many women like her – the ones from the Greatest Generation who married WWII soldiers (or served in WWII themselves!) and went to work while raising the Baby Boomers. They are amazing, and we’re losing them fast. Their bravery, patriotism, and ingenuity are such an inspiration – my grandma and her sisters, along with their husbands, were probably the most patriotic people I’ve EVER met. I can’t look at an American flag without thinking of them – did they even realize that teaching me patriotism would be their legacy? I bet not.
Sometimes I think teaching patriotism gets lost in the shuffle, but today is the PERFECT day to let it shine.
It’s also the perfect day to do a little cooking with Gram and my Pyrex bowls. 🙂