Today is my 35th Birthday.
I knew that last year would be a difficult age to turn (I didn't even mention it here), but I had no idea that this year would be just as hard. So today, I feel the need to put how I feel in writing.
My mother stitched this the year before she died. She was 34. I turned 6 that year. These are the only words I have from her. And, granted, it's likely from a kit, but I still consider them her words. It sits on a shelf in my bedroom and I see it every day. I didn't even know it existed until my parents moved, shortly after I was married, and we were emptying the attic. There, in a dusty old box, was something so much more valuable to me than anything else I could ever own.
I wish it was a ten page letter in her own writing, but it's not. I wondered for years why she didn't write my brother and I letters. Last year I asked my Dad's mom about that (she's got a good memory, he doesn't) and she told me that my mom did ask her to help her do that. Really? Why didn't it happen, or did it? Well, I thought it was better for her if she didn't. It would have been too difficult emotionally for her, so I just didn't encourage it or help her get around to it.
I felt like I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. It took me a while to process that. A year later, I think I can finally understand that a bit better. I put myself in her shoes a lot, especially now that I have children of my own. I imagine what it would be like to know that you will never get to see them grow up, get married, have children, know if they are walking with the Lord, know that they are loved. And it's suffocating to think about. I can see how writing a letter would feel somehow...final. Like the good-bye that you would fight with every breath, not to have to make.
So now, when I look at her stitching, I think about her loving fingers that threaded the needle, carefully made each tiny stitch and her gorgeous brown eyes that read this saying over and over and over again (just like I do). I can absolutely say that she is the reason I love sewing so much. She sewed so many beautiful (in a 1970's kind of way) outfits for me and because I wore those in pageants, I have some great professional photos of them. I love knowing that she would be proud of me. That she would ooooh and ahhhh over every little thing I make.
I realize now, that as I turn 35 this year, inside I'm really still just a 6 year old little girl, desperate for her mother's approval and wishing she could come home.
Tomorrow David is taking the kids to the grocery store so they can come home and bake a cake together for my Birthday. They will make handmade cards and I will have all morning to sew.
I sew for me, because I love it.
I sew for my children, so they can feel how much I love them.
I sew because of my mother. Because she can't.