I love design – reading about it, discussing it endlessly (my apologies to my friend Elizabeth), reviewing and tweaking mine, pinning my wish lists and dreaming of. I am a by nature a set designer. Everything in our home has meaning and some sort of attachment. Three years ago during the holiday season, on a trip to Anthropologie I stumbled upon a sand timer. It made me do a double take. A simple piece of beautiful handblown glass with silver crystal like sand sitting in the base. I had already checked out and then I inquired as to how many more were on hand. I only saw two. After checking the back for stock, they appeared with a total of 5. I declared I’d take all. This would be the gift to our closest friends that holiday season.
This hourglass piece, when I looked at it I didn’t just see something that was structurally beautiful or that just measured time. Some may see it as a conversation piece but I saw it as a meaningful listening tool. I had already visioned where it would live in our home. So as soon as I returned, it was placed in the living room or as my children call it, the meeting room. After school this is where I open mail and they decompress about the day they’ve conquered. Its our regrouping point. All uninterrupted by televisions or phones. We don’t spend much time in this room but it’s our sanctuary. Libby noticed it first and I explained the purpose of it. She flipped it over watching the sand for what seemed like a lengthy amount of time to transfer down through the glass channel into the bulbous end on the other side. She remarked how “cool” it was. I think she could have watched it forever, attempting to count each morsel of sand. I told the girls what my thought was for this new acquisition to our home. If any of us were ever happy, had a question, mad, sad, scared or just needed to be heard, this is the tool they would use to have the floor, uninterrupted. Our own pro-bono , free of fee therapy session. Just turn it over and start talking. You have until the sand reaches the bottom to speak your peace, deliver your news, plead your case or just be silly. With two girls I have always been focused on keeping the lines of communication open in our home. I assured them that if I were using it to speak my mind about something I was upset with them over – that by the time the last sand sliver had touched the bottom glass my anger would be gone and I would let it go. In theory, this sounds good and I attempt to maintain this commitment- but flashing forward to high school years- there may have to be an amendment to these rules! We have had a lot of fun with this. So much fun that Libby actually broke our first one. I think lots of truths have been spoken and more importantly heard. I treasure this small accessory.
The first holiday present I handed out that year was a couple of weeks early. My daughters best friends mother was fighting colon cancer at 39 valiantly. I placed a note in the box – stating what my hope for her family was. That all the hard moments would be gone by the time the sand had shifted sides. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months later. The rest I distributed to my closest girlfriends. Sharing with them a simple quote and a note about how clear I was on the importance of their friendship and how vivid I saw their roles in our life.
“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”-Niccolo Machiavelli
Preparing for Dons impending surgery, we have spent a lot more time in the “meeting room” and we are a little less formal about picking the hourglass up and turning it over to speak. That is of course, unless someone is in trouble…. As our truths have been spoken lately, I wish for the same note that I placed in Lisa’s box…. a hope that the sands are shifting.