Recently I got involved with felting, mostly wet felting, and have made a few things since then. One such thing is this purse, made of multi color felt. It was my first attempt at such a project and my biggest piece so far. The gold accent piece on the front used to be a necklace I was in the process of discarding. I decided to reclaim it and it lives on with a new purpose. The strap was also repurposed from another bag, and I loved the matching gold accents.
While in the process of making the bag, one day I showed it to Mom who immediately fell in love with it. At that time it looked more like a clutch, missing the strap. Throughout the process, Mom would ask several more times to see the bag, and kept expressing her interest and likes for the piece. It was then that I decided that it should be hers. I finished it off and on it’s way it went, to Germany, to be with Mom, for Mother’s Day and every day there after.
We usually talk every other day through FaceTime, and today Mom received a little added surprise when the package arrived. There was no waiting until Mother’s Day, and she opened it right away. I should have known, could I really expect different, that she would wait? I don’t think so. I wish I could have seen the surprise on her face, and I’m sure it was unexpected that this would be the content of the package. Still I could see the love and happiness all over her face, hours later as she took it upon herself to show me her treasure as if it hadn’t come from me. She was sharing it anew, showing it off with a big smile on her face. In the meantime a nurse entered the room and full of pride she offered to show her as well, commenting that her daughter had made and sent her this beautiful purse. It was at that point that my heart melted and where I knew with certainty that I did the right thing in sending it to her. I learned just how meaningful it was for her, and for one of the few times in our life’s together, I knew that she was proud of me. Coming to think of, handmade things have always been a bridge and a connection point for us. Something we share in common, something that can impress Mom, and something she values. Perhaps even most important, it was something she could contribute with, hold a conversation without feeling lost or knowing too little about. She knew a thing or two and could appreciate good workmanship, which in turn called for interaction exchanges.
While in Germany, I noticed that in all the years alone Mom had lost her joy for life. There were few things that made her happy these days, and she forgot to value and appreciate the things, if someone did something for her. I think she gotten used to having to fend for herself and to be on her own. She never got her drivers license, which left her vulnerable and dependent to some extend. I guess her way of gratitude was displayed in the form of her paying her way through life in monetary form. Somewhere along those lines common courtesy gestures such as saying thank you fell to the wayside and just stayed unspoken. There were many things I did/bought for Mom while being there and it always was a somewhat uncomfortable moment for her. Something she simply wasn’t used to. She would try to quickly change the subject and distract the conversation into a new direction. I would try to work with her, to verbalize her gratitude and learn to say thank you again in a relaxed and playing manner. I know she understood and yet it remained uncomfortable for her to say a simple “Thank you”. She never did and I didn’t pressure the subject, but I would always gently tell her “You’re welcome” as if in response to her telling me her thank you’s.
I didn’t do it today though and her happiness was evident. It was enough to witness, and it wasn’t a matter of her thanking me for what I had done, that was never the point and what I was after. She was so proud and happy today, but most of all it was clear as day that she had found her joy in life again, in a small thing that made such a big difference. I couldn’t have asked for anything more, but she would hold a surprise for me as well that was yet to come. She was ready and it was time to take another step…even if it wasn’t the physical kind I wish she could also take.
It was at the end of our conversation that she said “All of my many thanks and gratitude to you, for my bag” and smiled. To have experienced such a milestone with her and such a happy moment in a place she still struggles to adjust to, is simply priceless and something I will carry in my heart forever, and for all times to come. 💙