Every family has an heirloom or something akin to one. My husband’s family was no different. Theirs consisted of a beautiful cradle, that was more than 100 years old and that thus far had been comfortably ensconced in the attic of their home—the latter had already given shelter to three generations and was inching towards the 70-year-old mark.
One day, we deemed it necessary to bring the house to order and a massive cleaning was undertaken. Imagine our joy when we came across this treasure! We felt suitably rewarded for our effort. The cradle was in good shape and needed just a lot of vigorous dusting and cleaning.
No one was more overjoyed by the turn of events than my four-year-old daughter. Soon, she claimed to be feeling sleepy and wanted to sleep in it even though by then she had quite outgrown the cradle. So sleep she did with a bit of her legs sticking out.
Much of her next day was spent resting, playing and even eating inside the grand old relic.My father-in-law said that many a child, including himself, his siblings and his children, had enjoyed a peaceful slumber in it. In fact, it had been bundled up and stashed away into the attic until the youngest of his brothers had demanded it be brought down for his newborn daughter.
There was a bit of history attached to the heirloom. It originally belonged to my father-in-law’s maternal aunt who did not have children at that time. So it was deemed right to give it to my father-in-law’s mother (the aunt and his mother were sisters) who by then had had kids.
The latter had a humble-looking cradle that was given in exchange for the grand one. The exchange seemed propitious what with the childless couple later producing four children.
The impressive cradle had since then remained with my father-in-law’s family. Now, the fourth-generation user seemed to be putting it to good use. Too old for it, I saw my creatively inclined child standing on it and using it like a swing! It will be some time, I think, before this beautiful heirloom finds its way back into the attic.