Friday, February 17, 2012

Creative Genes

I try and keep this blog light and fun with projects and gorgeous fabric but forgive me for using this outlet for some personal therapy.  Writing always makes me feel better.  We've had some things happen in our family recently.  Difficult things but not abnormal circumstances for most families. Dealing with aging family members is tough.  When they become almost child-like, the parent/child relationship shifts unnaturally.  My grandmother, who is in her early 90's and is suffering from dementia, recently suffered a fall.  Since retiring, my Dad, the most awesome man you could ever know, has taken care of her.  After the fall, he was advised by doctors to move her out of her home and into hospice care.  Since her move, I've been quite emotional, stressed and sentimental.  I've poured through old photos, sifted through my craft supply, a lot of which was donated by her, and sometimes I find myself in the linen closet touching her afghans that she made so many years ago.  It got me thinking, it's no wonder why I'm so enamored with creating.  Look at my genes!  

This is Catherine Marie.
I think this is just about the most adorable picture!  It was taken the first week of April in 1947.  My Grandma was a very practical woman. She grew up during the Great Depression.  She married my Grandpa in Norfolk, VA at the Naval Base.  Her difficult childhood prepared her well for life as a Navy spouse.  My Grandpa was either deployed or spent shore duty in remote places where he couldn't bring his family.  We complain today about the Navy not being family-friendly, good grief!  Try serving in the 50's!  Money was tight but she made it all work raising two boys by herself most of the time.  She was so strong and put me in my place several times when I would call her as a young Navy wife myself moaning and groaning about all I had to put up with.  After speaking with her, I always felt that I just didn't have it so bad.  Even today, when I start sitting on that pity pot of mine, I think about what she would say to me.  

She sewed, knitted and cross-stitched for as long as her eye-sight would allow her.  She let me borrow her old Singer sewing machine when I was newly married so I could play around with garment sewing, making all of my scrub tops to wear to work.  She had an old tin full of buttons that was given to her from her mother.  Yes, it's mine now and I can't tell you how much I love sifting through those buttons and I think of her the whole time.  My Christmas tree is adorned every year with the daintiest lace snowflakes that her mother crocheted.

We visited her this past Christmas.  Every year around Christmas we feel that time is passing so quickly and it might be our last chance.  I had things I needed to say to her.  For me, really.  I knew that just as quickly as my words were heard they would disappear along with my name.  I just needed her to hear that I cherish what she's helped pass down to me.  The love of creating and creating things for others.  The strength she has taught me.  How the sweaters she knitted for me when I was a child were worn by my daughter.  When her mind was clear, I don't think I told her enough.  How much I appreciated everything.  Perhaps some of my words are still there for her to latch onto....make her smile, maybe even give her a feeling of pride.

My creative genes are strong on both sides of the family too!  My other grandmother, who is 94, was an amazing artist!  Every holiday, I pull out her ceramic creations to decorate my house.  My mother, although she says she has nothing to do with my creative accomplishments, was always sewing Barbie clothes for us and making our Halloween or performance costumes.  My Aunt is an outstanding quilter and we have a blast talking fabric and patterns and she'll even tag along with me on occasion to my quilt shows!  I am so blessed to have been given such a creative legacy and I look forward to passing on this creative passion to my daughter.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing this peek into your family Joy. I think it's beautiful and hopefully you'll be able to look back and read these words again someday and smile at them. You are very lucky to have come from such a creative family. I feel very similarly because my grandmothers were creative too. (And that IS an adorable picture!)