When I think of my first meeting with Tammi, during her Family Art Plan, I remember the prickle of goosebumps rushing across my arms.
Tammi told me about the love of her family; the new home that they recently moved into; how her youngest had been born just before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that they had no professional photos documenting her little life.
She told me of her empty walls and her desire to create a warm, love-filled environment to hold the dreams, hurts and joys of her family.
While Tammi’s desire for family art was valid and thoughtful, I could tell there was something more to the story than what she was disclosing. There was something bigger at play here.
When Tammi confided that her Family Art Session was in honour of her grandmother, who had recently passed away, the goosebumps washed over me. My eyes filled with tears as she explained that the backdrop to her childhood was her grandmother’s living room, where, above the fireplace, a large beautifully framed portrait of she and her sister hung.
Tammi wanted the same tribute for her three children.
I find myself wondering if Tammi’s grandmother knew the impact this piece of art would have on her granddaughter. Did she understand the sense of belonging and importance it imbued on young Tammi? Did she imagine her granddaughter, now an adult, would want to give the same place of honour to her own children one day?
Whether she knew it or not, Tammi’s grandmother was creating heirlooms for her family and leaving an imprint on the generations that will live on after her; the ones that knew her well and the ones whose memories might be in soft focus. Her impact rippling through her family long after she is gone.
Every day we are making investments in the people around us.
Most of the time, they’re made in little, seemingly benign tasks: reading stories, blowdrying hair, reminders to practice the piano. We also invest in the future with more deliberate actions, like family vacations, college tours and—dare I say—family art.
We don’t always know which investments are going to land in the hearts of our little ones and be valued by future generations. But if given the opportunity to “just get it done” or make it meaningful, I’m going to choose the latter. Just like Tammi’s grandmother did.