We are big on tradition in our family.
So much so that as I get older I find myself examining those traditions
to make sure we are hanging on to them for all the right reasons.
One I know that is good and true and beautiful is that of the
115+ year old Irish christening gown.
On Sunday I took pictures of Miss Leightyn Elizabeth Lucas wearing the gown. She is the first of the fifth generation to don the simple but splendid creation. Five generations wearing the same thing...As I said on my Facebook page, that's a lot of drool!
My Granddad Flanagan and his eight older siblings were the first to wear the gown. He and his brothers and sisters were the first generation to be raised in America. The gown was brought over from Ireland.
If my Granddad were alive, he would be 101 and he was the baby of the family. Each of the Flanagan children were christened in this gown.
The gown is very long, very light, and full of small exquisite details.
The gown is in near perfect condition. It is free of stains. A few of the delicate lace pieces are a little thinned out.
Not only is the gown beautiful, but it comes with a full length slip as well. The entire slip is edged in lace too, with tiny, tiny buttons at the shoulder. That is Leightyn with just the slip on (above).
We put Leightyn in the mauve chair for part of the pictures, because that is where all five of my children were photographed wearing the gown.
Now the new generation begins.
My mother (pictured above) is the Keeper of the Gown! She and her siblings were christened in the gown as well. We have often thought about having the gown professionally framed, but have opted at this time to just keep it stored so we can keep taking baby pictures.
It make me very melancholy when I think of my great-grandmother Mary Julia O'Connor Flanagan putting this dress on each of her nine babies. I am sure she had no idea that the dress would be used for generations to come.
You know if it is an Irish Catholic family that is a whole lot of babies!
If only my wonderful Irish Grandfather had been there on Sunday when we were taking pictures we could have had all five generations present. When I took pictures of my own children in that mauve chair he would stand behind me and sing his little Irish jigs to make my babies smile.
I have no doubt that he was watching from above singing those same little tunes.
The Irish love their big families. They are story tellers. They are keen on traditions. This sweet, sweet Christening gown fulfills each of those categories.
To Mary Julia and each of the mamas that have wrapped
their babies in this beautiful gown,
thank you for passing on all the love this simple dress
Over in Killarney Many years ago, Me Mother sang a song to me In tones so sweet and low. Just a simple little ditty, In her good ould Irish way, And l'd give the world if she could sing That song to me this day. "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li, Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don't you cry! Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li, Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that's an Irish lullaby." Oft in dreams I wander To that cot again, I feel her arms a-huggin' me As when she held me then. And I hear her voice a -hummin' To me as in days of yore, When she used to rock me fast asleep Outside the cabin door.