I find it funny how my mind works. On Monday, I saw Emily's photo of teacups and it reminded me of some yellow plates that I have. And thinking of those plates took me back to my last two houses, my former boss and a very special little girl.
When Fatty and I got married, we moved from Telluride, Colorado to suburban Chicago. I took the summer off from working to do wedding stuff. When we returned from our honeymoon, I was offered a part-time job at the darling stationery store where we had purchased our invitations. It was a wonderful fit – five minutes from home, retail hours and selling a product that I really love. To top it off, I was working for an incredible woman. Susan is genuine, kind, generous, supportive and smart. She had started the business a little more than a year before and needed help. I happily jumped in for a few days a week which quickly turned into full-time and then into managing the store. It really was a perfect match.
Fatty and I had bought a small, 1940's cottage-y house and I was decorating it one room at a time. We shopped the local antiques fair and consignment shops, looking for everything from a dining room table to chandeliers to McCoy pottery to add to my collection. At one of my favorite stores, there was a set of nine yellow plates that just took my breath away. I really wanted to buy one, but they were being sold as a set and there was no way I could afford to buy them all when we needed things like a new fence.
A month or so later, for my birthday, Susan handed me a box. Inside were three of the plates. She bought the entire set, kept six for herself and gave me the rest. I was amazed and so very grateful! She knew I would love them and I do. I hung them on the wall above the bed in our guest room. When we moved a year later, the plates were packed up in a box and moved to our new home.
The new house was much larger than the little suburban cottage we left behind. I was pregnant when we moved in and I was dead set on getting each room painted and the nursery ready. Many boxes sat for a long time, including all of the ones in the guest room. I was put on bed rest at 33 weeks and at 36 weeks, I gave birth to a beautiful, but tiny little girl. Jane weighted 4 lbs. 13 oz. but was otherwise healthy and came home from the hospital with me two days later. My mom came to help and unpacking boxes was one thing we tackled while Jane slept. When we pulled the dinner sized (11 inches in diameter) yellow plates out of the box, I realized just how small my baby was.
Those plates were hung on the wall above the bed in our guest room that day. They were moved to a different guest room when Kate came along. Five and a half years after Jane was born, we moved into this house. The plates sat in a box for much longer this time and then they sat longer still, forgotten in a cabinet. They are still in the guest room, but this time they hang over a mirror. I put them up a few months ago, after I finished the guest room quilt. The quilt was supposed to be pinks, greens and aquas, but it just screamed for a little yellow when I was making it. I listened to my inner voice, added the yellow and didn't think twice – I loved it.
A few months after I finished the quilt, I remember the plates. And they are a perfect match for the quilt. It's like I knew, but I had just forgotten, that those plates were meant to be in our guest room. I also think of Susan and The Custom Stationery Shop. I adored that job and still miss parts of it from time to time. I think it was there that I tapped back into my creative side after a few years of focusing on other things and for that I am very grateful. Of course, the plates always remind me of Jane, as a tiny baby. I did not realize, until I saw that photo, how tiny she really was. I chalk it up to being a first time mom, with very little baby experience. And of course, having a sweet, good baby didn't hurt! As I type this, I think I need a new photo with Jane and the plate. Yes. I really do.