Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pay it Forward


When I was a little girl, I went to spend the weekend with my great aunt Lorraine. She lived on a farm and being a city girl, I was terribly bored. To keep my little hands busy, she taught me to sew. She gave me a needle, some red thread and two facial tissues and showed me how to make an X in the corner to attach them together. Before I left that weekend, there were a lot of tissues sewn together. Aunt Lorraine had no idea what she had done – the road she had started me down what a special place in my heart she would always hold because of that.
When I was ten, my mother and my aunt taught me to crochet. Once I got the hang of it, I was a granny-square-making machine (keep in mind it has the ‘70s). I had always wanted to knit (seeing it as the Mount Everest of needlework), but my no one in my circle knew how. A few years ago, we hosted a German exchange student, Bea, who was kind enough to teach me to knit Continental (which made more sense to an old crocheter than tossing the yarn). After that I wanted to knit everything. I felt like I had summited the highest peak on earth.

Recently, one of my dear friends was telling me that she saw a great desire in her twelve year old daughter, Emily, to craft things with her hands. Sadly, she has a panic attack every time she drives into the Joann's parking lot. She's a great mom, but craft stores just create an anxiety in her. I adore her daughter and told her that I would be her fairy Craftmother. Soon after, we went on the shopping circuit (I am blessed with a Hobby Lobby, Archiver’s, Michael's, and Joann's in a very tight area) and then we spent a couple of hours in my studio. We talked craft and her curiosity in doing things you don't know how to do -  and the courage it takes in middle school (or in middle age) to stick to who you are. Her mom called me that afternoon to thank me for my time and for "filling up" her Emily's soul.
When I think of the loving hands that showed me how to sew, crochet and knit, I realize that they were crucial to making me who I am today. I really didn't see very much of Aunt Lorraine since she died not long after teaching me to sew. Bea went back to Germany and has started her own adult life. But they have an extraordinary place in my heart. Their hands taught my hands. Now, my hands are teaching Emily's hands. Emily's soul wasn't the only one that was filled that day.
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