Nono was my husband’s grandfather. The was is pretty new for us. He lived until 93 and spent most of his years enjoying sports and laughing with his family. He was clever and loving. When the time came to pass he did so with grace. Nono taught me what a valuable life is made up of.
As a gift, Nono gave us an upholstered chair. It sat in his home for thirty years and he sent it off to our house with love. We call it Nono’s chair and have built a routine around it. In the mornings, my husband sits in it and puts his shoes on and in the afternoon I pull it up to a window and write stories.
The chair is in great condition and is covered in a light blue velvet. It features a divot from years of sitting. When we first received it, my initial reaction was update the fabric. I had a new and trendy print on my mind and a look I was going for. But I could never bring myself to take any action. The chair feels old and wise and wanting like the Velveteen Rabbit, asking to be loved just as it is, as Nono intended it to be.
Nono’s chair makes me think of how our home came together, a mixture of past lives, friends’ shared treasures and the starts and stops of relationships. I had intended to arrange our home in a purposeful way making design edits as I went along but just like life it formed its own shape. Things found places over time by accident and through habits.
The chair with its velveteen coat remains. I have learned to love and defend it. It doesn’t match much at all, its not new or trendy but this chair is made up of real life. These days, I only see what’s perfect when I look at it. I like to think of Nono sitting in his chair and more broadly about how many moments we live in the same areas of our home. In these places where we receive both good and bad news, celebrate happiness and struggle through sadness, our usual spots. The places where we create our divots in life, the spaces we carve out, what a valuable life is made up of.