I come from a long line of crafty women. I grew up in a house where my mom would sew, my sister would cross-stitch, and every Christmas meant a package in the mail containing something made by my aunt in Kansas. Above my childhood bed, covered in the homemade quilt and adorned with pillows stitched with love, hung a needle point picture hand stitched and framed for my 10th birthday. The basket that held my knick knacks on my dresser was decorated with ribbon and flowers by my mothers hand and her handy hot glue gun. It was not a catalogue-style room filled with coordinating items but instead it was pieced together with items made by loved ones and hand-me-downs.
I loved learning how to create decorative baubles alongside my mom and sister. Instead of wanting Seventeen magazine I looked at Women’s Day and Family Circle to see the holiday craft ideas. I would sit with my mom and earmark the crafts I wanted to create. I would spend time painstakingly creating an item to proudly present as a gift to an unsuspecting (and often unwilling) recipient. As I grew my love of crafting did not diminish but my skill level also never really improved.
I stopped during college because, well, college. My friends did not know that my mom still proudly set out the snowman I made every winter and I had no plans to let them know lest they figured out how lame I really was. Once I graduated I did still did not create many things except for the annual weekend in December I would get my nieces and together make all sorts of Christmas
crap crafts. As my nieces got older their visits with me were fewer and fewer as were my days of wielding a hot glue gun. They became busy teenagers and I got married and my days of crafting were but a memory.
A few years later we were expecting a baby girl. I dreamt of spending time at the table carefully gluing snowflakes to a sock-turned-snowman. We would bake cookies and I would teach her how to crochet (first I would have to learn as I had no clue how). But before my first born, Taylor, had enough coordination to stand on the chair without falling off I was pregnant with our second daughter. With two daughters by my side my dreams were coming true, I could do all the things I loved to do with my mom with my own daughters, I just had to be patient.
Finally Taylor was big enough to start baking with me. With Chloe in her high chair, an empty bowl and spoon to play with, I would pull her up beside us and show Taylor how to crack an egg – then I would fish the eggshell out of the batter. As Chloe grew bigger and more coordinated she began to participate and soon I had a child at each elbow, creating more of a mess than anything else. My patience grew thin as my walls grew thick with cake batter and cookie dough. I stopped baking and making things just so I did not have to have them beside me, fighting over who gets to pour in the water and knocking half of the flour on the floor. Painting became a rare treat and the table dedicated to crafts turned into the coloring table as the water paint, glue sticks, and pipe cleaners were tossed in the trash.
But now the girls are growing taller, more coordinated, and more confident. They need my help a little less today than yesterday and desire my company a little less as well. No longer do I help dress them, brush their hair, or have to watch them like a hawk. That Blink-of-An-Eye I had been warned about is happening and soon they will be baking and hot gluing without my assistance. And while they are still very little and want me by their sides, I need to spend as much time as possible with them.
So I am starting to let the counters get sticky with dough, the floor to be covered with flour, and the flowers to be watered within an inch of their lives. I am back to crafting but this time I am the teacher, my daughters my eager students, regaling them stories of when I was a child. I hope to one day to tuck them in bed, covering them in a quilt made by my own hands. For the pillow they lay their head on to be made with love and them to feel that when it cradles their head the way my now empty hands did years ago. And I hope one day they will do the same with their own daughters.