In my basement, for the last five years, has lurked a cedar chest that I’m grateful I was given but wished I didn’t have. It belong to my mother, and the fact that I had it meant she was no longer here. The last time I saw my mother alive, she asked that I take the cedar chest she was given as a young girl and give it to my daughter when she came of age.
“You’ll have to refinish it,” she said with the sweet smile she always wore. “You kids were hard on all my things.”
It wasn’t a lie. After the abuse of more than forty years and six kids, the cedar chest was in need of some tender lovin’ care. I walked past it often and smile at the broken, bronze feature on the front, reminiscing about my mom and this cedar chest that always occupied a space in her bedroom. I had a lot of fond and funny memories of hanging out with my mom in her room, and refurbishing the cedar chest felt like wiping those memories away, so it sat for another five years.
This week, my daughter’s upcoming sixteenth birthday forced me to finally honor my mom’s wishes. Power sander in hand, I scrubbed the marred finish away. I’m sure my husband kept wondering why I took so many breaks. But when I couldn’t keep the tears at bay, I walked away. I didn’t want my blurry sight to cause an accident, like nicking the wood.
The original finish is all gone now and I have many coats of new stain to apply, but I know my mother is grateful that her cedar chest is going to another young girl full of hope and dreams–another reminder that although she is gone her influence never will be.