Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Most Blessed Gift...

“Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart”

by Myla Kabat-Zinn



Ahhhh, Christmas vacation time…very well received to be sure!

As noted in my previous posts, the earlier period of weeks in the life of a special education teacher, namely ME, have been hectic and stressful indeed with the enmeshment of work and home prior to the holidays. However, the quote above has been actively occurring as I’ve been afforded the opportunity to do some self-evaluation and self-inventory; thank you Angela and Beth.

Anyway, the hustle-bustle has been upon us and in the luxury I’ve blessed myself with the reading of amazing writings of my blog community; visit any number of them on the side-bar and you will truly be given a gift I assure you! As stands to reason the themes revolve around the Christmas holidays; music, traditions, memories which have compelled me to appraise my thoughts and feelings in the direction of this celebration as well.

I have to be honest and admit Christmas has never been my preferred holiday. One, I don’t like all the commercialism which robs the time of year of the true meaning; the birth of the blessed baby Jesus. Two, past holiday stress with a childhood filled with a multitude of dysfunctions has truly tainted my perception and I have a propensity to look at the negative rather than the positive regarding this season.

Here is the change occurring…one of my followers, Mildred (thank you Dear and you can view her post here) posted yesterday about Christmas memories and revealed some depictions that immediately launched my travels to past recollections. One such was the Simplicity pattern that guides me to the images of my divorced single mother of five children. At the time entrenched in domestic violence and functioning on three jobs to provide us with basic necessities as well as Christmas gifts.

My mom was an exceptional woman who crocheted and sewed, although I didn’t appreciate it at the time since as a young girl, I wanted to wear what others were wearing and not an article of clothing my mother had created. However, with these talents, my sister and I were given clothes for our Barbie dolls. As I conversed with Mildred I reported I’d try to unearth them so this break of day I prodded through tucked away memorabilia of old and nudged the musty smells to discover my treasures displayed below.








I can hear my sister now; Dawn will be calling to accuse me of stealing her Barbie clothes. I’ll just have to inform her it was actually Barbie who ‘borrowed’ them to widen her wardrobe and just failed to return them! HeeHee…

But the true gift is this: throughout the days and weeks leading up to the here and now, I’ve been forced to ‘re-frame’ my thoughts and perceptions of people, happenings and holidays. As intricate as the incidences were, it was moreover a present to me.

So, what does life force you to do at times, particularly this time of year? What gifts have you given to yourself?

I will give my utmost effort to leave behind the sadness this holiday entails and embrace it with a new vision. And it begins with a thank you to my mom who has always given us the best of herself when times were beyond exhausting and difficult, as she continues to do on a fixed retirement income. She’s still the mom and I’m still the little girl…

34 comments:

kenju said...

Such a lovely post. I'm off to shop for groceries and get a much needed manicure. Your mother's doll clothing was wonderful! Like you, I didn't want to wear my mom's home made clothing either (after the age of eight) - nor did my girls! Merry Christmas.

2 Tramps said...

Sure do hear you about Christmas... My Dad died unexpectedly just before Christams ten years ago. It changed all the dynamics of the holidays and we have had turmoil with those of us willing to change and those unwilling. We have learned about selfishness and selflessness as we have done this dance call Christmas. We have been in our own home to celebrate Christmas only four times as both our families live in other states and none are willing to travel - the old road only goes one way thing... So we travel the highways with the throngs, listening to the jingle of chains on the trucks and count our many blessings.

My Mom sewed all my clothes, too, and I never had a store bought dress until second grade. I remember being called inside to try things on, being stuck by pins as I wiggled about watching friends playing outside. And like you, my Barbies and baby dolls all had full wardrobes of homemade outfits, several that matched my dresses. (I still have them) I was a very lucky girl!

Mamma has spoken said...

WOW and I thought I was the only one who had a mom who made all my doll and personal clothes! And sadly, I have none to show what she made for me.
As for me, I am receiving the BEST Christmas gift an Army mom can get this time of year. He's flying in for the holidays at 3:00 today. The thing that I am the most grateful for is that all the years that he has been in, he's been able to spend Christmas with us each year. I wonderful thing considering where he is and has been.

Mildred said...

I really enjoyed seeing the "works of Heart" that your Mom made your dolls. I imagine she was so tired in those days and to think of her making these intricate little clothes by hand to brighten your days. I am so glad you found these and shared with us. Gratitude is an emotion of the heart not of circumstance. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas with new memories and traditions to cherish.

Robyn Cook said...

I must say every memory I have of Christmas is a happy one. I am well aware that my parents had many financial struggles during periods of my life, however, they never let any of that sadness trickle down. They made sure, by whatever means necessary, my sister and I had everything we needed to make the holiday grand. As my daddy is your brother, I think that speaks volumes for the strength and goodness that is at the very heart of our family. Hold on to the good and release the bad - and share with our children the best of ourselves. Happy Holidays!

Wanda's Wings said...

That brings back one of my fondest memories of my Mom. She would make the most beautiful Barbie clothes for my doll. These are the memories we need to treasure. Merry Christmas.

Nancy said...

Tracy -- as you know, I'm not much for the current Christmas phenomenom -- I truly believe that for us adults, Christmas is a time of reflection on the past -- what it meant to us as children. Just as our children will look back to the Christmases we created for them, hopefully fondly.

I have siblings that treasure Christmas, today, just as they did as children. And that's wonderful. To each his or her own. :)

Lovely post, dear.

Out on the prairie said...

I enjoyed this post as well as the thoughful comments you send. I remember the good of the holidays, and let that be a shared moment with many.I love the outfits, my mom never sewed, we had a sewing lady as I do now.When my girls were Barbie age I found a lady who made some fun outfits,including a nice wedding dress for Barbie to finally hookup with Ken.Today I sent all the leftovers I had made of goodies to the old Sp Ed classroom I worked in , I was having a sugar frenzy. Their poor parents when they get home, but today starts the holiday for them.I had my Christmas last weekend so am free for the holidays, I should be somewhere nice and warm.

Rambling Dandelions said...

How fun! Love love love the pics!! Peace, my friend. We have DAYS to breathe.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I am feeling 'the spirit of Christmas' but my house isn't showing it--We still have no decorations, other than the cards we've received, and I'm okay with that...I'm just enjoying the friendships and reading about others memories, like the ones you have...Simplicity for me is what it's all about not the craziness that so many seem to thrive on.

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I love it.. I was a single mom for many years and my children always had home made. It was a difficult time for us, but I have learned to appreciate the work involved and what the joy of Christmas should mean. This year, I made all eight grand-children homemade blankets and hooded towells with their names on them. Hopefully, they will also learn to appreciate the love that went into the creation.

Ginny said...

Your mom is extremly talented, just look at all the detail!!! Isn't it so true that we never appreciate the things our parents make when we are young? They are not hip like the things that the other cool people are buying. I see that we both follow Mildred, isn't she a jewel?? These little clothes are truly amazing!! I think they should be shown off in shadow boxes and hung in a grouping, they are way to pretty to store away. I can see from here all the love your mom had when she created these for you, what a blessing!

Sweet Old Vintage said...

I can certainly say I know what you are feelings and saying... I am enjoying this season for the right reason and not letting the out of portion ways affect me... In a couple minutes I will truning on the lights to enjoy for the evening... Cut out sugar cookies have just been finished frosting and it was a pleasant day... Sweet memories your made with love clothes ....

Carol Riggs said...

Blessings to you, and thanks for a lovely reminder post. I think Christmas is way too commercialized and self-focused (gimme, gimme presents), and a far cry from the real meaning of the season. I try not to get too busy during the holidays. People get WAY too stressed out about trying to make it the perfect holiday--all that baking, expensive presents, and exquisite decorations.

Debra W said...

Your mother sounds like an angel. A true angel. What lovely clothes she created for your Barbies! I am so touched by the thought of how difficult things must have been for her, but even through all of that, she wanted to make sure that her daughters had outfits for their dolls.

This is a hard time of year for so many. I am glad that you are taking the time to look at it from a different perspective while cutting yourself some slack!

Beautiful, bittersweet post, Tracy.

Dawn Currier said...

I wondered what happened to those Barbie clothes. Until this blog I thought they were destroyed in the many floods that took place in mom's basement.
As for the memories...just thinking of the many hours we played with those Barbies. We had the best dressed and the nicest home a Barbie could ever ask for.
Thanks for the memories and I feel better knowing the clothes are safe.

Brian said...

Christmas is full of memories, some good, some not, but the good ones are winning!

Ami said...

It helps my own brand of holiday sadness to go around the web and read blogs.. Some who had worse things, some who did not.. we all share a common thing, though, and that is that the EVENT of Christmas stays with us.

And it's good to remember that as we finish raising our families and look forward to when they marry and bring more kids...

Love the barbie clothes.

JennyD said...

Well, Tracy, Barbie dolls came out when I was already too old, but my grandmother, knowing that I couldn't sew, decided to give me one to practice making clothes. Oh how I wish I had pictures of what I made for that poor Barbie. Suffice it to say, usually there was only one sleeve instead of 2, or in another case, there were 3 legs in a pair of slacks. It never got any better. I took 3 yrs of Sewing 1 and never cut out a pattern right. I gave up. But I can fix and fridge or build an entire pier from scratch. Go figure ;)

Daisy said...

Tracy, those are indeed treasures. I can remember some hand made doll clothes that my mom created for us too. Very sweet memories. :)

KathyA said...

My talents are elsewhere -- far, far, far away from sewing and crocheting. I can knit and crochet--but only 'straight' stuff and I'm forever dropping stitches and forgetting patterns. However, if you need me in interpret any poem in British, European, or American lit, or grow anything and then cook it, let me know!

Those pieces are beautiful and I can understand why they evoke such memories!

LV said...

What a sweet and tender message you shared. Mothers will stand by you when no one else will. May you and family be truly blessed during the holiday season and coming 2011.

Nezzy said...

What a loving post about a mother's love. My mother too sat at a sewing machine makin' those itty~bitty Barbie doll clothes 'cause they were too expensive to buy. What wonderful memories a mother imprints on our heart.

God bless ya sweetie and have a magnificent holiday season!!!

Sue said...

I used to watch my Grandmother sew dresses for me when I was a little girl and I wanted desperately to learn to use a sewing machine. I did and for years when I was first on my own, I made all my clothes.

My Mom taught me to knit when I was five and she also made clothes for my dolls while working full time.

Today I still sew and knit. It enables me to produce gifts for family and friends and to fulfill my creative urges. I'm very grateful for those skills.

Thanks for a thoughtful post today.
Sue

The Words Crafter said...

It's been a very strange season for me....

I love the Barbie coat!

Lovely post. Thoughtful. Introspective. Yeah, I'm there....

Catherine said...

How beautiful those Barbie clothes are. You can see all the detail and love your mom put into those tiny doll outfits. Wonderful!

No matter what, we will always be our mom's babies. Mother love ~ it's a beautiful thing!

All the best to you!
xo Catherine

Heather said...

Hi,
I love the clothes. How wonderful they are are. Your mom sounds amazing.This post was beautiful, it got me thinking of my mom, who was also a single mom, and how much she did for me growing up....alone, no complaining...she did what she had to to make the best life for me...
Now that's so true, we will always be their little girls!
I wish a Merry Christmas, and thank you for all of your kind words over at my blog! xxoo
heather

Arkansas Patti said...

What a special Mom to have made such darling clothes for your Barbie. Pretty sure tiny clothes must be harder to make than normal sized ones.
My Dad made my clothes and I was always embarassed that there were no labels in mine. Such goofs kids are.
Lovely post.

Jules said...

How beautiful! I must say through all your trials and tribulations, whether you like it or not, it seems you have truly found Christmas my friend.

Recognizing your mother and her gifts, well to me it don't get more Christmas!

Happy Holidays
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Pearl said...

Oh, how wonderful. I grew up with Simplicity patterns as well, and you've just opened up a floodgate of memories for me.

Merry Christmas. :-)

Pearl

Corine said...

HI! And Merry Christmas! I'm so happy to have landed here today!!! :D There are so many wonderful words in this post!

"But the true gift is this: throughout the days and weeks leading up to the here and now, I’ve been forced to ‘re-frame’ my thoughts and perceptions of people, happenings and holidays."

and,

"I will give my utmost effort to leave behind the sadness this holiday entails and embrace it with a new vision."

Much of this has gone on in my life lately, not with Christmas, but with other aspects of life. Sometimes what we view as the problem... isn't the problem at all. Sometimes the problem is simply how we view the problem! ;)

Congratulations on your fabulous discoveries! May your Christmas memories become beautiful blessings!

Corine :D

Pearl said...

Hi, Tracy.

I'm back. :-) Contact me re: my book on my chapbook entitled "I Was Raised to be A Lert". (My father insisted that we remain alert because "there aren't enough lerts in the world".

Funny guy.

whyioughta2@gmail.com

Pearl

Pearl said...

Tracy, there's only one book. My keyboard is messed up and I can't always see what I'm typing. :-)

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow - these beautiful crocheted clothes must have looked amazing on your Barbies!! What a talented thoughtful mum! And what a lovely post to her!!

Have a peaceful Christmas, take care
x