My mom has been gone for seven years now, but I was surprised the other day to realize she was teaching me a lesson once again.
You see my mother loved Christmas. It was totally her thing. The house was covered in Christmas knick-knacks nestled among “angel hair”. She collected nativity scenes that were displayed year-round in a fancy cabinet. And at the fireplace, she hung stockings for everyone–dogs, kids, grandkids, everyone.
My grandma had embroidered our names on the stockings when we were growing up, and as we all started having kids, my mom was in a bit of a quandary. She wanted embroidered stockings and had not a clue how to make them. By then, my grandma had died, and my mom had not inherited her crafty gene–perhaps it skips a generation.
I was a little miffed when she paid someone else to make them. Didn’t she remember all those embroidery kits we bought at the neighbor lady’s parties? I’d made wall hangings, pictures, ornaments, pillows. I could French knot with the best of them. Oh well, it was her money, but goodness Mom, I’d have done it for free.
Then a few years later, she proudly showed me her new advent calendar. Now this calendar was massive with a bright yellow flowered background, a large Christmas tree, and bunches of felt ornaments. It was totally not my thing. The yellow was too bright, I’d have used a red and white print, and the mismatched buttons would have been so much better in more traditional red and green. It was just too big. Where would you hang that thing? Perhaps that’s why I hate a sneery attitude so much; I’m quite good at it.
But my mom didn’t talk about the calendar, she talked about the lady who made it.
You know her Kim, she’s the single mom with two cute, little girls.
Oh yeah, I remember her now.
When my mom died, my dad brought out the Christmas things and had us go through them. Sweet Miss immediately went to the advent calendar and said we had to have it. I was shocked. Something I’d thought of as “cute” in a crocheted toilet paper roll cover kind of way, brought back fond memories of staying with Grandma and Papa and hanging up the ornaments each day. Perhaps there was a little fighting with her sister and cousin over whose turn it was next.
The advent calendar came home and has been proudly displayed each December for the last seven years. While they aren’t as eager at 15 and 18 to hang the ornaments each day, they still make sure the advent tree gets decorated. We’ve lost a few items, apparently dogs find felt ornaments quite tasty, but Baby Girl made sure we had enough.
The story of our advent calendar came back to me in a real way a few weeks ago. A friend mentioned she was afraid she was going to lose her house due to a change in her financial situation. I was shocked; we couldn’t let that happen. The MR and I were able to send some work her way. While she did a great job, the greater blessing was knowing that we were helping her get back on her feet.
Then it hit me. It was never about the fancy embroidery or an advent calendar. My mom saw a way to help someone. Her purchases allowed this single mom buy a present for her daughters or gave her a little extra money at Christmas time. My mom was raised by a single mom, maybe that’s why she was so good at seeing people in need.
It’s easy for me to get caught up in my own little world. Thanks for the tip Mom. I pray for eyes to see and willing hands.