This tale may not be of interest to everyone. It’s more of a Mother’s Day tribute than of a May Two-Four long weekend piece. My timing is off but that’s the way life’s surprises are . . . unexpected and delightful.
My older daughter had asked me to keep an eye out in our home for some children’s books she had bought a while back, in anticipation of the day her younger sister might have children of her own. You see, my youngest daughter is expecting now. I thought I knew where everything was in our home but there are many things stored in the basement that are not my own.
I looked in the corner of the wood shop set up in the basement. An area of my oldest daughter’s belongings—that did not fit into her new smaller living quarters—was piled high. I did not see any books.
I searched through a storage closet near the laundry room. The books weren’t there either.
Although I doubted books would be stored in the cellar-type area under the front porch, I took a deep breath and continued my mission. When it rains, a little stream meanders along the concrete cellar floor to end in the laundry room drain. It was musty!
I did not find the books. However, I did find a cardboard box labelled Baby Clothes & Baby Afghans. I had not put much thought into storing my kids’ belongings. Why hadn’t I used a plastic tote? Memories flooded my mind of when my daughters wore these items, especially the dresses and jackets, and of babies swaddled in blankets crocheted by my Mom.
Mom’s fingers became arthritic when she was a new bride. She remembers they had to invest in a newfangled washing machine instead of washing clothes using a wringer washer. The cold water was too painful for her joints.
The other thing Mom needed to do for her arthritis was to keep those joints active. She crocheted and knitted in her spare time. I don’t know how much spare time she had as there were six of us kids and Mom worked as a nurse also. But, she did what she had to do to preserve the joint mobility.
When I was in labour for my firstborn, my Mom was working the night shift on the postpartum ward. She stayed with me until noon but needed to leave then as she was scheduled to work the next night as well. Now that I’ve worked midnights for almost thirty years, I know what a feat that is to stay awake after working, let alone driving home and coming back into work the next night.
Mom had been knitting once I was comfortable with an epidural. Later she told me, she had to rip out most of her work as the tension in her knitting was too tight. I can understand how tension over a daughter being in labour could mess with her handiwork. I work in obstetrics now as well. It is truly a miracle how the majority of times everything comes out perfect. I await my daughter’s first child in August.
I washed the musty baby clothing and afghans with a little Borax and Ivory Snow laundry detergent. The smell was rid of easily but apparently, I used a bit too much Borax. The soap came forth out of the machine!!
The clothing felt stiff from too much detergent. This simply would not do for a baby’s delicate skin! I redid the laundry loads using vinegar to cut the soap. Everything was still a bit stiff. I bought fabric softener. I rinsed super well. The wash came out soft!
I visited my Mom out-of-town yesterday and brought along the washed clothing and blankets. My laundry labour of love. My Mom’s labour of love: her crocheting and knitting. I couldn’t wait to see her face when I showed her the baby items.
Mom’s 92 now and legally blind. She still made prayer shawls for our church until recently. My arthritic hands now resemble my Mom’s more and more. It doesn’t bother me at all. I keep them limber by typing and writing and gardening.
Mom’s a leftie and I never caught on to how to do handiwork like she did. But, I caught on to how to keep active and to not let arthritis stop you from living a full life.
Thanks, Mom! I can’t wait to see my granddaughter wrapped in one of your blankets and wearing the cute little booties and one of the sweater sets. My expectant daughter is equally thrilled.
This is a pic of my Mom and daughter at her bridal shower almost two years ago.
And, to think I had forgotten all about those boxes . . . now, just to find the children’s books!