Tag Archives: Mother Love

Decorating With Grandma. Again.

Once upon a time my mother, two sisters-in-law, & I decided to start a new Christmas tradition. We would each craft a handmade ornament – four in total, allowing enough to gift one another & one to keep.

That first year, everyone made an ornament. We wrapped, ribboned, & readied them for their tah-dah moments, opening each with anticipation. Mother’s beauties, made of felt & sequins, sparkled with Christmas spirit. Pam stitched up a gingerbread man – which quickly became a favorite. Nancy’s cross-stitch stunner dazzled us. Each ornament a treasure, beginning a family legacy.

Except for mine. Without going into detail, it was…unfortunate. My kind relatives uttered undeserved oos & aws over it, but I wasn’t fooled.

You might think these pictured are my handiwork. Ah…no. They are more winsome than what I produced. Over the years, I tried to make an angel out of coffee filters, a salt dough ginger-boy (who was too heavy for the branch), a ball glitter-glued to gruesome heights, & a snowman who looked rather like Bumble, the Abominable Snowmonster of the North. But none turned out well.

Still, I yenned to fashion a gingerbread man as cute as Pam’s. Maybe a ginger-girl?

Handmade UGLY Gingerbread Girl

Oh, my goodness! It didn’t work out for me. (Sigh.) Another awkward attempt.

Eventually, we each fell away from the tradition. The task too time consuming, I fell first, followed by the others. Except for my mother, who faithfully crafted her ornaments year after year, gifting them to us joyfully, without comment on our lack of reciprocation.

We looked forward to receiving them & each daughter ended up with a collection of Mother’s creations. Hours & hours of close work, she stitched far into the nights to keep her end of the bargain, though we didn’t keep ours.

We so miss her presence (& presents) since she moved on to heaven. But every Christmas, when we unpack the precious ornaments that remain, her blessings are enjoyed anew. And we remember the legacy of our Mother’s abiding love.

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The Art of Motherhood

When I was little, I thought all mothers were artists. And musicians. And seamstresses. Like my mother.

Because she had so much creative talent, my mom enriched my  childhood with constant doses of it. She whipped up numerous dresses for me on her old 1940s Singer sewing machine. I was always in style at church or school. And so were my baby dolls. Chatty Cathy & I often wore matching frocks, thanks to Mother’s genius. In fact, until I took this picture, I never realized that little Muffy’s dress wasn’t just like mine.

Muffy & Me

Muffy & Me – Twins!

The turquoise-blue, dotted-Swiss number I wore for my portrait (about four years of age), was a rare store-bought dress. But Mother found similar material for Muffy’s look, added some fancy lace, & I thought we were twins.

For my birthday, Mother sometimes drew beautiful ladies on white cardboard, the stiff backing saved from packages of nylons. She sketched enough so each invited guest could take away her own, original paper doll. Each doll wore a unique hairstyle & bathing suit. And each had a large sheet of art paper filled with tabbed clothes. During the party, we could fill in the outfits using new sets of colored pencils. Scissors were provided so each girl could cut out clothing for her doll to model. We lay on the living room tiles, industrious, creating our own masterpieces.

Probably the only time we were quiet all day.

Paper Doll

Though I no longer have the paper dolls, I have a lot of my mother’s drawings that are reminiscent.

When I think of how much time & love Mother put into such projects on my behalf, I feel rich. Now that she is in Heaven, these memories are great treasures.

I hope I remembered to thank her adequately.

 

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Les Miserables Echo

Today, I saw the movie, Les Miserables. Though the stage play touched me deeply, this experience seemed more stirring somehow. Watching the character’s emotional reactions up close in panoramic, digital clarity left me shaken. Moved. I cried all my makeup away – not a good look. It has been six hours since l exited the film and still, it is with me. That’s good story, folks.

Heading home, the beauty of love’s impact on a life, on many lives, curled around my heart like a mist and rested there. How many of us have the opportunity to change a life through God’s forgiveness and selfless love? All of us, I should imagine.

I thought of people who had forgiven me. Who had loved me, though I’m often unlovely. And right away, my thoughts settled on my mother.

My sweet, ninety-three-year-old mother who has dementia and remembers little, except that she loves me. The lady who inspires friends not seen for years to say, “Cathy! Good to see you. How’s your dear mother?”

My mother at ninety.

My mother at ninety.

Day after day, year after year, my mother dwells in grace. Her kindness is an offering and her smile a blessing. Along with Jean Valjean, she loves with a Godly love that changes lives.  She has changed mine and continues to do so.

May God grant her more pages in her story. Like Les Miserables, it’s a good one. And I’m reading it right to the end.

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