Friday, December 24, 2010

A new baby

I remember the first night home as a new mother like it was yesterday. I was terrified. Here was this tiny little creature looking up at me from her cradle in the middle of the night. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

I was surrounded by all the comforts a new mother should have, soft little burp cloths, warmers for the wipes, even the cotton blankets were embroidered with Amazing Grace. There was this diaper genie thingamajig that was truly remarkable the way it would carry away soiled diapers.

Mark was sleeping and it was a very silent moment in the middle of a summer night. Gazing at my little daughter, in her cradle...I remember thinking, somehow I'll figure it out and praying a "help me" type prayer. Perhaps this is normal? Kind of a new mom prayer, Dear God, help me figure it out. After the prayer, I remember wondering what my child would do with her life? What kind of person would she be?

What was it like for Mary when Jesus was born? Certainly the comforts were not there and the cradle was a rough, wood thing that was scratchy, the last thing a new mother would want for her newborn child. Can you even imagine the thoughts that Mary was having? She knew this child was going to save all of us...and this beginning, was out of her control.

So, this Christmas Eve, I am thinking about faith. That even when life becomes something very different and unknown, there is a plan for all of us. Just like that blessed Christmas, so long ago when a new mother, not unlike you and me, was chosen to be the one that would bring Him into our world.

My Christmas wish for all of us is this, let us have the kind of faith that Mary had that night long ago and know, that it will be as it should be. Know that when our life is like a scratchy manger, that God is with us and all will be ok. Perhaps this is the real meaning behind Peace on Earth? It is about having peace in our hearts and being thankful.

Silent night...

Friday, December 17, 2010

the sound of my mother's sewing machine

Maybe my mother should consider entering project runway? Her designs dressed both of her daughters all through their childhood. We both won best dressed and it was because of the many hours she would spend working at the sewing machine in the corner of her bedroom.

Mom worked a full time job and yet, she often had a project underway. My childhood memories are marked by the beautiful clothes that she made for events. For the roller skating party in sixth grade, I had bell bottoms with a matching v-neck vest. They had a giant paisley pattern, the height of coolness. For Christmas, a beautiful red velvet dress with white satin cuffs and matching covered buttons down the front. In the summer, I would have pinafore dresses with matching kerchiefs.

High school brought brown corduroy hot pants and dresses for homecoming dances. I remember all too well, the prom dress she made for me. My boyfriend broke up with me three weeks before senior prom. The boy that asked me to go was not "John" and I was so disappointed. Mom made up for it. She bought fabric that had a gold dust sparkle on the surface and a skirt that made me feel like a princess. That was her way of making the night memorable...and it worked. (She never did tell Dad what she spent on the fabric.)

We didn't have the money to shop for clothes in department stores, but the experience of my mom's homemade garments were so much better for many reasons. Together, we would choose a pattern and fabric. Then she would cut it out on the dining room table. Slowly, it would come together as she would run the seams under the presser foot of her sewing machine. RRRRRRRR, snip, cut...I would watch her as she labored by her machine, often at night after working all day.

The picture I posted shows me smiling...most likely at my mom. I had good reasons to smile. These garments were her gift to me as she shared her talent, her time and most of all her love.

I shop for my daughter's clothes in department stores and never once have I found anything that comes close to a Mary Engle original. I wish I had the patience and skill to create from the heart like my mom.

When I was a little girl, watching her sew, I said, "Mom, you are a good maker". How very true and how blessed I am to have a mother that continues to give of her time and talents not just to me, but to all who know Mary Engle.

Merry Christmas Mom. How about whipping up one of those beautiful taffetta christmas blouses for me again?