The Christmas season is upon us and we’ve been pulling our goodies out of storage and decorating and getting into the spirit of the season. Everyone told me that Christmas would be so fun with kids and they were right, it’s the best.
Thanksgiving always makes me a bit melancholy – finding out your mom died the day before the holiday can kind of do that to you. It’s been 9 years, which means it’s been over 10 years since the last time I saw her. My mom was wonderful, she loved to learn, loved to read, loved to travel, but she wasn’t a maker. Her mom was a maker, always sewing and crafting, but my mom wasn’t into it. That is hard for a tactile person like me. Few days go by when I don’t wish that I had something physical to hold to remind me of her or to show my kids and say “You know that Grandma that I keep telling you about? She made this!”
I came to the crafting game late-ish in life (spoken like a true 31 year old, right?). Like I said, my mom wasn’t into it, and so I never learned in my youth. In my early 20s I tried to teach myself to knit from a book and it was impossible. Fast forward a few years and enter youtube – suddenly I was able to learn how to crochet and knit and embroider. Sewing? My wonderful, crafty mother-in-law taught me. I’m not very good at any of it – I’m probably best at knitting and crochet because it’s what I’ve practiced the most, but I wouldn’t call myself an expert on any of these arts. But, I make stuff, to leave a piece of me behind. My mom died when she was 49, which feels younger and younger the older I get. The memories I have of her are wonderful, so are the pictures of her, and the few journals and letters she left, but it never feels like enough, I mean, how can it be enough? I know that the only thing that would really be enough would be HER, but I’m still obsessed with the idea of making heirlooms. The idea being that if I’m lucky enough to leave the same imprint in my kids’ heart she left in mine then hopefully having a small piece of me left behind will ease the pain of the loss. I know, it’s silly, but you get a little silly when someone you love is gone.
My husband has to rein me in sometimes, because there really is only so much homemade stuff a house can hold, especially with our personal design esthetic. This is probably why I make so many blankets – can one really have too many blankets? (Ask me that question again in a few years…) Anyway, that’s why I like Christmas decor, I can blanket the house in my homemade things for a month each year, make it a tradition, and then take it down for the rest of the year. I made the stockings and have been adding to them as each new little person comes along. Earlier this year I knitted the above advent calendar and we’ve been having fun finding little activities and treats inside and then hanging them on the tree, making it a part of our Christmas tradition.
I just wish my mom could be here to celebrate with us, especially when I bust out the one Christmas tradition she did leave, her special sugar cookie recipe. I make them every year and every time I do her memory burns a little brighter for a few hours. That’s why I do this, that’s what the traditions are for.