When I moved my mother cross country to be closer to us, I inherited a number of boxes of her stuff which we didn't have time to go through before the move. These boxes sit in our basement guest room and I generally keep that door closed at all times. It had been my goal to sort through them this summer but ... well ... best intentions forgotten in the busyness of summer fun.
I did unpack a number of boxes of her sewing materials and stored them in the empty dressers we also inherited upon her move (we have LOADS of drawer space now.) Needing some embroidery thread to finish one of my projects, I started rooting around the many bags, over-sized metal shortbread tins and tote bags looking for the thread. In a beat-up vintage handbag I found this treasure:
I do not remember my mother doing crewel work when I was little. She did more needlepoint than is probably beneficial for any one house (read: many many pillows will be coming my way) and she taught me so that is what I think of when I consider my mother's crafting days. But this humble little piece - the hoop and needle still in place where she stopped - this one made me pause and then marvel. And my reflection for this week is truly that: I've been thinking all day about my mother's quiet talents, the gifts she secretly cultivated and which she also far too easily let slip away.
My mother also sewed most of her clothes while I was growing up. And at 85, she still comes over to use her singer machine that now sits in my basement. She has altered a number of her pants and skirts in addition to piece work for our family. When I told her I had purchased the DIY dress kit for Cowgirl, she rather shyly said "I could make something for her if you want me to." As I type that, tears come to my eyes as I realize my mother never truly appreciated her talents and I, her daughter, I always took them for granted.
What has been gnawing at my mind all day is the fact that we so often overlook and undervalue the gifts of those closest to us. My husband is a very generous, loyal, thoughtful person but I obsess over the daily tasks he seems to regularly overlook. My mother's talents and skills seem unremarkable because, well, she has always been this way and done those things. I needed to call her about dinner tomorrow night and I so mentioned the crewel work. "Oh that!" She replied. Apparently she had been taking lessons to learn the various stitches. When I informed her it would be a crime not to finish it, she told me "oh, you will find lots of unfinished projects." Apparently there are 2 needlepoint stockings (one for Cowgirl and the other for my brother's youngest daughter) she has started "but I just keep forgetting to do them."
I will not let her forget. And I am doubling my efforts not to leave a legacy of unfinished work - dreams, projects, aspirations - for Cowgirl to sort through. In addition to my mother's love of collecting material, I apparently inherited a curious mind and desire to try lots of new things. I did not inherit her patience (in that regard, I am more like my father, not wanting to bother with all the details) but I am more determined and disciplined than most of my family. I guess I inherited determination from Cowgirl. I hope that will carry through to my making her the dress. And I will be sure to seek my mother's expertise in the project. In fact, I am thinking I would rather she sew me a cute little something to wear.
a project i am needing to keep on top of: a page for The Sketch Book Project. And in keeping with the theme of this post, i want to be sure and acknowledge the inspiration of Kristen's work for this page.
Meanwhile, I continue to think about the other things I may over look and undervalue. What about you? How do we build in time to pause and take in all the gifts that surround us? And then make time to verbally say Wow! and Thank You.