What are your thoughts on this quote? “Remember that once you dreamed of being where you are now.” Tell us about a time when you dreamed of what you have now. How do you balance being content with what you have, but also striving to be and do better at the same time?
Oh boy, this is a loaded one for us. We are pretty ambitious sometimes, even at the expense of other priorities. Six years ago, we each had two kids, lived in tiny apartments, and were just hoping to make connecting with their families easier for other moms. Our journey has far surpassed our wildest dreams, but we didn’t dream of how it would also force us to be true to our boundaries. In the past few years specifically we’ve had to work so hard to focus less on accomplishing and more on the developing of our character and the relationships with those we love. Less rat-racing, more intention.
Let’s talk favorite keepsakes and memories. What are your fondest childhood memories of your grandparents or parents that you’ll never forget? Have you received anything extra meaningful from someone in your life that you’ll keep forever?
We’re both the same in this regard. We don’t keep a lot of trinkets or memorabilia. However, we both keep every single note we’ve received since childhood. Kitschy Hallmark cards, grandma’s shaky handwriting, love letters from our husbands, phonetically spelled words from our own little kids.
Jess: I received my late grandmother’s knitting needles. It’s a treasured reminder of her gift for and love of creating. She taught me on her lap how to knit with some of those very needles. It helps me feel connected to her busy hands, which were always being used in the service of others.
Mare: My great grandma always smelled of roses. I inherited a lovely 80s bottle of her perfume when she passed. I wear it on important days when I want to take her with me. I know others probably think I smell like a grandma but, to me, it is the most beautiful scent in the world, a reminder of the shoulders I stand upon and my duty to do well with her legacy.
“I believe in collecting things that we connect with. We should surround ourselves with things we care about, that have meaning.” —Nate Burkus. We know you’re not emphasizing material belongings in this campaign, but we also know you believe that the home is the most important place, so we have to ask. What are some meaningful things (other than Gathre) that you’ve collected or invested in for your homes?
Art (with lots of exclamation points)!!! Our artist mothers’ influence there. Family pictures; although it’s the most stressful day of the year, we never regret getting those shots. Books, books, books, books! We’ve been trying to bring in a few more living plants. Nourishing food and a big table ― in hopes that one day we can host gatherings again!
Do you have advice for parents who want to give their children meaningful keepsakes or memories? Do you have a special gift you give at a certain age, a hand-me-down keepsake that you pass on, or meaningful gestures that you do for your kids?
Don’t overthink it. What we do speaks louder than what we say. It’s true for the things we’re thankful for from our parents and grandparents and we only pray our kids will say the same of us.
Jess: As far as passing things down… I have a few jewelry pieces from my grandmothers that I will one day pass on to my daughter when she is older. Little things, mementos of stories lived. Each year during Easter I write down my thoughts about faith and belief in the Savior. It’s something I give to my kids to remember the most deeply held truths that have buoyed me up and brought comfort over the years. I hope one day it will be a collection of hope they turn to during hard times.
Mare: One of my grandmothers from many generations back brought plates with her to Utah when she emigrated from England. I received two of them. When we visit new places I try to get a plate to add to a collection that I’ll pass along. I have some original pieces of art from my mom and grandma that are treasures I’ll pass down. This last year we swapped birthday presents for a family sleepover at a hotel, and it was a hit. I loved pivoting to memories over stuff and those are the moments I hope to create more of.
Tell us about how you feel like your heritage and the memories from your family life have made you who you are today. How do you think this influences your current family life? How are these keepsakes for you?
We come from two mothers who are our greatest heroines and north stars here on Earth. Our imperfect families afforded us every opportunity (and some to spare) so the standard feels high for our own kids. For better or worse, we are who we are because of the families we grew up in. The most treasured keepsakes they gave us are the foundational things in our own lives: the seeds of our faith, a strong work ethic, love for others, and appreciation for light and goodness in all its forms.
What do you hope for people in the Gathre community to pull from this collection?
Our lives would be made if, because of this campaign, our community felt a little more inspired to foster collections of hope, of unity, of beauty. We, ourselves most of all, could use a gentle reminder that we don’t need to wait until things look a certain way to embrace joy, savor every moment, and live that life we dream of. We can create those memories, those keepsakes, today.