This week I wanted to share with you what got me started with Monday Memoirs in the first place: my sister’s Mama Letters series at Two Happy Lambs.
I know I have mentioned this before, but I just want to holla at my sis’s blog because she has been doing it for so long and has taught me so much. Her Mama Letters series is also extra special because they are letters to my niece and nephew that they can read when they are older. It is always nice to have as much information as you can about your parents and your childhood. Things that we can’t remember, but are valuable to us, can still be looked back on. I love when parents do this kind of thing for their kids!
Here is the latest post of Mama Letters, but you can check them all out here. Be sure to wander around in Mary’s blog – she is basically me but older (and wiser) and with SUPER CUTE kids. :)
Did your mother or father make you anything while you were still in the womb or just a baby? Did you or your spouse make anything for your child? What is your child’s most favorite toy to cuddle and where did it come from? What was yours when you were a child?
Dear Ben and Alina,
When Ben hurls a block across the room at lightning speeds, he has to chant one of the family rules, “We only throw balls and cozy things”, which really is his translation of the “don’t throw things in the house”. I used to have mountains of stuffed animals as a child, and from what I remember, I never played with them or cuddled with them, I just refused to let my mom give them away. It felt like kicking my pets out to find another owner. So, my Dad got a long rod made for a closet- you know, for hanging clothes? He found one at the hardware store or wherever and stuck it into an old Christmas tree stand and fitted it with little gold hooks (also can be found at the hardware store). He then put rubber bands around all the necks of the cozy things that did not have ribbons or bows and hung them all. They filled up the whole thing, to the ceiling. It was extremely creative. And there they lived until I let someone put them in a box when I was fourteen.
My mother sewed me a really sweet mobile when she was pregnant with me. She said it was her first real sewing project. It was a satin cloud, with ribbons hanging from it, a tree, a star with bells at the points, and a sun. It was seriously so darling. My aunt made me a quilt and I remember having a brown teddy bear, probably the best looking teddy bear ever. I have a photo of me, maybe one year old, with those two things and I remember them well. I had a bean stuffed frog that I adored as a baby named (probably by my parents) “Froggo”. Oh I loved Froggo, forever and always. He was the perfect size and handy for chewing. I also had a zebra that I passed down to you guys named (again, by my parents) ZZTop. They were a famous band in the 70s. My parents were nothing if not clever.
My uncle built me a wooden rocker in the shape of an elephant with my name carved into the bottom, we have that, too. I kept that through high school. It was a Barbie house, and then became guest seating and on it’s side, a decent table top. It’s incredible how much you appreciate these efforts as you get older and realize what was truly involved. It does make me feel so loved to think about my mom rocking and sewing over the curve of her belly.
So, I continued the tradition and picked up a pattern and a sewing machine and sewed Ben a bear. I also sewed our good friends a bear for their baby, who was born within weeks of Ben. Ben’s bear is a pale blue with small white polka dots and a white nose. He is called Blue Bear and has been King of the toy kingdom ever since. I took monthly pictures of Ben with his bear and the dear handmade quilt made by my sweet friend Karen. When he was old enough, first Blue Bear and then the quilt went into the crib with him and they have been there ever since. He sleeps on top and wrapped around a very squished Blue Bear and I wonder sometimes why we even bother with a pillow.
It was this love I had in mind when I learned how to make a quilt so that I could sew one for Alina. It was one of the hardest projects I had ever done but it turned out better than I could have hoped. “Dottie” her beautiful subtle greige bear with big white polka dots and purple ears and feet, uses the same materials. Sure enough, she is now fiercely attached to them and Dottie is one of the first names she could say. She often reads to Dottie at bedtime.
Every time we go on a trip, in goes Blue Bear & Dottie. They have other matching attachments, too- a glow worm and a glowing, er, seahorse. A turtle and a ladybug that shine star constellations onto the ceilings and make handy battery operated night lights. Two incredibly soft micro-fleece blankets embroidered with their names and dates of birth. Ben had a fishy mobile that played white noise and music and he was so in love with it. Alina has the mobile I made her while I was pregnant- birds that I sewed (yes, with matching material from her quilt and bear) on top of branches from the yard. It doesn’t make any noise but she loves it just the same.
How do these items transfer my love and protection so easily into the hearts of my children? It is a power not to be underestimated, and I am so grateful to have it.
Sweet dreams my darlings,
Oh man, I totally remember ZZ Top and Froggo. My parents are hilarious.
Hope you all have a great week!