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IMG_6448IMG_6436IMG_6458 IMG_6460I first started making presents for people in my life when I was 9 and my cousin and I decided to make a clown doll for Margie Dinardo.  We snuck into my godfathers tailor shop and got all the scraps we could find. For the skin fabric I used a white tshirt that I thought my mother would not mind me cutting into.  I can’t remember if my momma found out or not but I do remember that the clown doll did not come out as planned but Margie still liked it anyway.

I can’t count how many handmade presents I have made in my life but I can count how many I have received from others and they are countable on my hands and feet.  Most of those were wonderfully and lovingly made gifts for my babies and how I have cherished them but to this day no one (other than my own children) has ever taken the time to make me something ,just for me, for no reason other than love, with their own two hands.

When my friend Charlei told me a few months ago that she was going to make me a sweater,  I responded with “What???  Wow, thanks”.  I figured that she is super busy and has lots to do so maybe I might get this sweater for Christmas and then I filed that thought away in the don’t think about it file.  Then a few days later she started sending me patterns and asking for specific colors.  Soon enough I was getting pics of progress on this sweater that would someday be mine.  Truth be told, I love my friend so much that she could have never made me one thing and I would love her just the same but…

A few days ago, I got a box in the mail.  It was address by her and it was a bit heavy.  The kids circled that box until I was able to get away from the pile of bread dough I was kneading on the counter.  The box was full of things for all of us.  So many fun and thoughtful gifts but the sweater, Oh my goodness.  It is made from Royal Alpaca and it is softer than any yarn I have ever worked with I’m sure!

Pulling that sweater out of the box, holding it in my arms and putting it on was better than what I had expected.  I made a promise to wear it all winter.  The kids began wishing for a Charlei sweater of their own and then I had to dispense with the warnings.

Those warnings went something like this:  If anyone washes this sweater, you are dead (in the nicest way of course).  If you touch mamas sweater, you are dead, if you find it and in the process of putting it away decide to try it on, you are dead.  So we all agreed that no one would so much as look at it for a very long time.

This sweater is more than just a sweater.  It represents the time that it takes to make each stitch, the love put into picking the yarn, the pattern, the wooden buttons.  It is time away from other projects to make something that I can cherish and in the end feel loved.

What is the best handmade thing you have received?

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an adventure for her

For the past few days I have been ignoring that today was coming. I knew it was coming but my heart just couldn’t deal with it so I put it out of my mind.  Today, Ronnie left to spend a few days at her godparents house three hours away.

That may not sound very tragic but to this momma it is gut wrenching.  I know she is in good hands and I also know that she is certainly having a great time but my momma’s heart wants her close by.  Selfish, I know but I am certainly very selfish with my children and I probably always will be.

I’m not the only one though.  For the past few days, every time I have turned a corner the conversations floating in the air all surround Ronnie’s upcoming trip.  Everyone is concerned that she will be alone.  She is definitely not alone but to our children, being without another sibling is indeed alone for they all share a heart, the heart of our family.

The night before, Erica helped Ronnie pack her bags which I am sure was hardest for her since they are probably the closest being sisters that are exactly two years apart and share a room and most everything.  Erica tried every way of getting herself invited on the trip so she would not have to be without her sister but the time came for Ronnie’s first journey away from us and it was time to go.

I secretly made her a new pillowcase for her trip knowing that this would be hard for her.  She did love it as did Olivia and Erica and so I am now working on two more pillowcases for the girls beds.  She hugged it tight and said she was taking my love with her in the pillow….sigh.

We all put on a brave face for her sake, though as the time drew near for Poppa to take her on the trip there, the faces became less and less brave.  By the time she made her way to the car, there were very few dry eyes including her own.  Goodbye hugs were aplenty as well as instructions such as “if you need to come home, don’t worry, I will tell Momma to come and get you” or “if you miss me, just close your eyes and think of me”.

As I made my way back in to get Matthew, who was now on Erica’s hip, still with my camera in hand, I walked into the sight of my little ones consoling each other and could not help but get a picture (or two…or three).  Veronica will I am sure be surprised to see how even the little ones missed her so.

She called me tonight and told me all about her wonderful day, the beautiful room that was prepared for her and how her Aunt Tara tucked her in and sat with her until she fell asleep, things mothers of nine do not do.  She said that she loved everyone here and could not wait to see us in a few days.  In her voice I could hear the little bit of homesick feeling we are all sharing today but also the fun of a new adventure for her.

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