We have mainly settled in the Northeast, although we do go as far south as South Carolina, and as far west as San Francisco. With a rash of weddings and babies over the past two years we have all gotten together quite a bit, and we are lucky that we are usually all able to be in the same place at the same time at least once a year.
And among this big extended family are three women - my aunts.
Warm, caring, generous, strong and fiercely loyal, these three women - and my mom of course - have taught me everything I need to know about life, love, loss, and all the shades in between.
From them my cousins, sisters and I have learned how to manage the chaotic balancing act of family, home, and career; what jewelry goes best with anything from jeans to cocktail dresses; which espresso machine will brew the perfect cup of coffee; how to both listen and talk at the same time (a difficult skill, to be sure); how to drape a scarf to make it the perfect accessory; that cheese-balls (the orange, processed kind) are the only acceptable summertime poolside snack; the best way to study for a standardized test; how to pick the perfect dishes to ensure a coordinated kitchen; the virtue of eating dessert; and much, much more.
And my aunts are on my mind because as I finish unpacking my house, so many of the things that I am unpacking have come from them. Clothes, accessories, things for the kitchen - over the years they have all made sure that I, and my sisters and cousins, have everything we need to live our lives well, and stylishly.
There is one set of gifts that I am particularly fond of, and excited about, and it came from my mom's oldest sister, we'll call her Aunt I. When she heard back in June that we were buying a house, I think that she was more excited than we were, and we were pretty excited. We had long conversations about colors, design, kitchens, and in particular, serving pieces. Because she believes, and now I do as well, that the best way to decorate a house and set a good table is with colorful accessories. She is masterful at finding just the right accessories to make a house a home, and is, and always has been, unfailingly generous.
And so it was that at the end of the summer she drove to Pittsburgh with a car loaded with presents for the new house. After Thanksgiving we brought them back to New York, and they have been sitting in boxes since then, waiting for our construction to be finished. And yesterday, it was. So my first order of business when I got home from work was to unpack all of those boxes, and what a treat it was.
Because in those boxes, was all of this:
And these stunning and unique pieces are now scattered throughout our first floor, decorating our brand new space, and reminding us of how lucky we are to be a part of this loud, chaotic, sometimes crazy, but always loving family.
Thanks, Aunt I, for helping us make our house into a home. We can't wait for you to come and see it.