M.Kizer Author's Corner

Love and Laughter

Nostalgia

Does anyone else feel like me, in that this last week of the year can seem like the saddest. For weeks we have built up our expectations of the joy of the family holiday. We have counted the days until we can all be together. Perhaps it will be the first, the only, time all year that we will see our extended families. The anticipation of the perfect family holiday may have even seemed stressful, and maybe we are just looking forward to it all being over.

And now it is. Does anyone else feel just a little sad that all of that spirit and joy is gone for another year. Those of us with children know that they have been at home long enough that it is high time they were going back to school. They are bored and irritable, and if the weather hasn’t been good they have been in the house far too long.

The moments with family, while special, were far too short and stressful. In an effort to make everything perfect, too many things went wrong. We all remembered why we didn’t want to live close to our families! In the hopes to make it all seem perfect, it seems that the whole season slipped away from us, and somehow we missed the joy of it all.

We promise ourselves that next year, we will do things differently. We will focus on the people, and not on the pomp and circumstance. We will not waste a minute of the time we have to spend together. We will not lose our tempers or be short with one another. Oh wait, isn’t that what I said last year??

Happy New Year’s Week to All!

I’d love to see some of your resolutions in the comments!

Michelle

Learning the Legacy

When I was a child, my mother was always making something. Always. She was baking custom birthday cakes, or sewing someone a new dress. She was making legwarmers (it was the eighties after all) with no pattern; she’d just sit there in her favorite chair with her yarn bag, and articles seemed to magically appear! I couldn’t appreciate in my youth how hard she worked, how not a birthday or Christmas would pass that there was not a handmade, personal gift. At the time, her work seemed just a hobby to me; I didn’t understand that for her, it was a legacy of love that she so wanted to pass down to her girls and her grandchildren.

To her credit, she tried to teach me. More than once…in fact, more than I would like to admit. She drug me to enormous craft warehouses relentlessly. She could spend hours in even the tiniest hole in the wall yarn store, begging me to choose something I liked that she could teach me to make for myself. As a little girl, I was in awe at the dozens of colors and shades, at the thought that I could learn to MAKE something. Each time I agreed to try something, she would return home with bags and bags of yarn for projects and a renewed hope that one day, she would have passed down her love for crochet to her daughter.

I was hopeless. Utterly hopeless. I suppose at the time my heart wasn’t in it. While I wanted to please her, I wanted to play and be with my friends more. Eventually, she gave up trying. I didn’t know at the time how sad she was to think that her daughter’s daughters would not have the same love for creating things that she did. I didn’t think much about it, I just always assumed that she would be there, making things for her own grandchildren and passing her love down through the generations in her handmade gifts.

And she did. When my son was born, there were booties and sweaters, quilts and afghans, handmade clothes (more than he could ever wear). As more grandchildren came along, she was always there making Christmas outfits and Easter dresses and never a holiday passed that everyone didn’t have a new sweater “Made Especially for Me by Grandma”. I still had never taken the time to learn.

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I was unprepared to lose my mother suddenly when I was only thirty-two. My daughter was only five, my son eight. They would  remember the Christmas sweaters and the customized birthday cakes, to a point. They would look back and remember all the holiday outfits she had made them, but how would those memories ever last into the next generation? Neither my sister nor I had ever bothered to learn her craft. As I plowed through trunks of yarn and unfinished projects following her passing, I insisted that I was taking all of these patterns and yarns home with me, though everyone thought I was being crazy. Someday, someone would use these things, keeping her legacy alive.

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I brought the trunks and boxes home with me, and eventually they found their way to my closet, where they might have been forgotten again. While my intentions were good, I still lacked motivation. Until my little girl came to me one day, at six years old, and said to me “Mama, my Blue’s Clues sweater that Grandma made me doesn’t fit anymore, I need you to make me a new one” The look on her face, when I gently told her that I couldn’t do that said it all. She was unconvinced. And she said to me, “You’re a mommy, mommies can do anything!”. She skipped away from me that day, and never mentioned the new sweater again, but she planted a seed in my mind that wouldn’t go away. I pulled a trunk from the closet and picked up my first skein of yarn and crochet hook that day.

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I parked myself in front of YouTube, determined to learn to crochet, and keep my mother’s legacy alive. Believe me, it didn’t happen overnight. For the first year or two I ripped out more stitches than I made, at least it seemed that way. But I kept at it, eventually getting my daughter learning as well. Today it is me who makes the handmade gifts for family members. Today it is me who knows that she has the legacy to pass on to the next generation. Each year during the holiday season, my daughter and I take the hats, scarves, and blankets that we have worked on all year long to a local women’s shelter to distribute. I’d like to think that somewhere out there, my mother is finally proud that her legacy lives on. Image