Friday, June 20, 2014

Some Gifts Last a Lifetime

Mrs. Myrtle (photo courtesy of her daughter, Ann)

The majority of my childhood days were spent with Mawmaw.  Moma never seemed to have a vacation from her nine to five weekday job, and Daddy's oilfield job took him away for weeks at a time.  However, there were times when MawMaw was ill or, on very rare occasions, out of town for a few days.  When that happened, my mom was in a pickle!  There were VERY few people who I would stay with other than my grandmother.  Her home was my second home and she spoiled me terribly.  Why on Earth would I want to go anywhere else?

When I was about six years old, my Mawmaw had to have surgery.  It was Summertime so my mother was not sure what to do with me.  She knew I would throw a fit if I had to be away from my Mawmaw for two weeks.  Lucky for me, Mrs. Myrtle, one of my mother's dearest friends, convinced Moma that I would be just fine if she left me with her during that time.

Other than my grandmother, Mrs. Myrtle was the only one who made me things on a regular basis.  She made me beautifully crocheted blankets, dolls with big, ruffled dresses, and the cutest little crocheted Octopus.  She was so kind, so talented, and so beautiful inside and out.  She was one of those rare people who you meet and just instantly love.

When I walked into her house on that first day with my color books and frown, she wrapped her arms around me and told me that we would have so much fun that the time would fly by until Mawmaw was better. She was so right!  We cooked, we listened to music, and we watched television while she crocheted.  She made biggest deal over every thing I drew, buttered, or sang for her.  I was happy when Mawmaw was better, but I would miss spending time with Mrs. Myrtle.

Not long after that Mrs. Myrtle had a birthday and we were invited over to her house.  I told Mawmaw that I HAD to make her something because, thanks to the two of them, I already understood that gifts that you took the time and love to make were very special.  I wanted Mrs. Myrtle to know how much I loved her. My Mawmaw, bless her heart, spent all morning showing an impatient six year old how to sew by hand. She had the patience of a saint, and by the end of the day I had made Mrs. Myrtle a homemade gift.  I put all of my heart into what was the ugliest, most crooked holder for her crochet needles.   Of course, my Mawmaw told me that it was beautiful and that Mrs. Myrtle would love it. Mawmaw was right.  That night after everyone else had given her their gifts, I proudly handed her that ugly little pouch that I had made with so much love.  That sweet woman made me feel like I had given her a diamond ring.  Years later when I spent the day with her, she opened her crochet bag and showed me that she still kept her needles in that silly little makeshift bag.  How lucky I was to have known her and loved her.

Mrs. Myrtle and Mawmaw have both been gone for some time, but I still feel loved and inspired by them. They both took the time and the effort to make beautiful things just for me, and more importantly, they both made me feel like I was special.  They also inspired me to make my own homemade gifts for those people I love. Unfortunately for those people I love, I still make ugly homemade gifts.  I can't use a sewing machine to save my life, and I gave up crocheting a long time ago because I didn't have the patience to improve my skills. But I have not given up!  Still inspired by them, I'm starting to make crafts for my granddaughter.  In fact, I went to Hobby Lobby two days ago and stocked up on supplies to begin my new craft adventure.  Hopefully I'll be able to post a picture of it on my blog soon.  I want Eleni to have things that her Mimi made for her from the heart.  I want her to feel as lucky as I did when I was a little girl.  And when she makes anything for me, I will make her feel like it is the most beautiful thing anyone ever created.  Luckily for her, her mother, my daughter Brittany, is very creative and talented.  I don't know where she gets her artistic talents, certainly not from her parents.  Perhaps it was because Mrs. Myrtle was with me when I was in labor with Brittany and God blessed me by allowing some part of that lovely woman to pass on to my child.  I like to think so anyway.

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