An Eyes Of Wonder Post

Many of you dear readers were followers of Eyes of Wonder back in the day (for those that don't know what I mean, my mama had a blog for a few years and documented the life of our family). All of us children still have access to the blog (it's private now) and occasionally I go back to re-read her writings. I thought it might be a nice treat for some of the long-time-ago readers to see one of her posts again.


The only gift, is a portion of thyself


"Our tokens of love are for the most part
barbarous, cold and lifeless, because they do not
represent our life. The only gift is a portion of
thyself. Therefore let the farmer give his corn, the
miner his gem, the sailor coral or shells, the painter
his picture, and the poet his poem."


Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882

"To persons of refined nature, whatever the friend
creates takes added value as part of themselves - part
of their lives, as it were, having gone into it.
People of the highest rank, abroad, will often accept,
with gratitude, a bit of embroidery done by a friend,
a poem inscribed to them by the author, a painting
executed by some artist - who would not care for the
most expensive bauble that was offered them. Mere
costliness does not constitute the soul of a present;
it is the kind feeling that it manifest which gives it
its value. People who possess noble natures do not
make gifts where they feel neither affection nor
respect, but their gifts are bestowed out of the
fullness of kind hearts."


John Young 1881

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A handful of rememberings, for today:

My mom, coming to my bedside when I was a little girl,
countless times, stirring me from slumber if I was already
asleep, and apologizing, saying, "I just want you to know
that it wasn't your fault that I got upset with you, I was
having a hard time. It wasn't you", looking into my eyes,
brushing my hair back from my face and kissing my cheek.
Always, so quick to apologize for anything she thought she
might have done hurtful or wrong. Even, oftentimes, things I never would have noticed had she not mentioned them. a *priceless* gift to me. A gift that because of her, I try to be quick to give to my own children, because it meant so much to me.

My mom, on a Summer's day, hand-sewing doll's clothes
with Wesley and Rosie; for the doll I had made for Rosie,
and the doll Wesley, alongside me, had made for himself.
Teaching me to love and celebrate life, where you are, with what you have. Teaching me, by her example, to create with my head and my hands, from my heart. To give the simple gifts--"a portion of thyself", that although they require time, are oftentimes simple and less than perfect, may be the most precious, and longest remembered.

The porch swing my dad made for my family, and another he made for our yard.

And, further back, the Cracker Jacks he always brought home when I was little, the big bowls (one for each of us) overflowing with the oranges, apples, coconuts, ribbon candy, and nuts, every Christmas morning. And, the heart-shaped boxes of Valentine's chocolates every single Valentine's Day, for each of his 4 girls, and a big one with a flower on it, for my mom, every Valentine's Day. A puppy brought home in his pocket Another time a little wild bunny. He gace me a love of nature, exploring, rock climbing, and camping deep in the woods. 

The incredibly thoughtful gift, that my dear dad gave to me, of my grandfather's shaving mug, razor, and shaving brush when my grandfather died. One of my dearest treasures.

And, him "holding me close" over the phone while I experienced several hospital stays, and my first hospital birth, a c-section, leaving my little ones, everything so foreign, tears, tears and more tears.


Big Papa, being hospitalized for 11 days in PA, far from anything familiar and anyone we knew--just 2 weeks after we were marriedHis dear father and brother driving all the way--11hours-- to come pick up all my *stuff* we were hauling half-way across the country, and the truck we were hauling it in, and give us a more comfortable vehicle to ride in the rest of the way, home. So kind.

Shortly thereafter, arriving at our first home, all set up, everything unpacked and beautifully situated. The gift of a lovely bed, made up ready. Towels in the bathroom. Food in the refrigerator. All lovingly done by his wonderful family, now my family. A special gift I'll always remember--Making our first house, a home, for us, young and weary, to come home, to.

My sister and brother in law, Denise and John, helping us along as we started out in life, as a young family, giving and giving, and giving some more, in any way they could. Loving us, loving our children. Always there for us, if ever we needed them for anything. Again, the profound gift of example, of loving, caring, and giving.

The beautiful quilt that Denise, Big Papa's sister made for their mom. The quilt squares held transferred photographs of her loved ones, her life, through the years. My dear (so lovey-inside and out) mother-in-love, beginning to cry when she received it. We all did, too.

Childhood days in Arkansas, my paternal grandfather, Kenneth, waking me before sunrise, to get up and have breakfast with him and my grandmother, get dressed, and go out to milk the cow and gather the eggs from the
chicken coop. Later in the day, talking with me, his Sambo, his friend, and playing his harmonica for me, then asking me to play it for him.

My paternal grandmother, Louella, getting the cream from the refrigerator, putting it in the butterchurn, and letting me take turns churning it with her, til the butter was done. Her, cooking great big meals for everyone, everyday. Making her own patterns, sewing all of her own clothes. Teaching me to make patterns from finished clothing, and sew. And, giving me a love for all things simple, and all things home. Caring about me. LIking and enjoying me, and being my friend.

My other grandmother, Grandma Kay, that lived only a block away, playing the organ or guitar with me, while we sang together. Feeding the birds, and watching them out the window over her kitchen sink, while we did dishes. Together, hanging clothes on the line, and working in the garden. Together, sitting on the couch with me lying beside her, my head in her lap while she stroked my hair and told me stories of when she was little, always calling me her "Jewelery", and sometimes singing to me the little song she's made up about my name, right on through my teens.

Cheryl, my aunt, who was, and is, my beloved "older sister". The "clipper" (finding special somethings of interest in articles, cutting them out and sending them  your way). Always taking time to think of others, to understand them, to care about them, as she journeys through life. She's given me years, of hours, of friendship--unconditional, tea from the pantry, homemade soups and homemade bread, playing the guitars and harmonica, singing together, sitting in the grass while she worked in her garden and smiled and laughed and spoke to me of life, and beauty, and relationship. And, one of my most dearly treasured material posessions--she and Leigh (the other side of all the priceless love and friendship I received) gave me, a vintage, etching on silk, of a mother and child, that I've had since I was 16 (pictured above).

My other grandfather, Nels, whose house I practically lived at when a child,--there, one block away, with Grandma Kay. He loved art and music. I treasure the hours I spent talking with him, asking him question-after-question about life and the universe, hanging out in his studio filled with art books, pencils, paints, his ancient 8-track tape player, continuously playing classical music, while he worked on his latest painting. I have the gift of a beautiful painting he did for me (and my family has others). I had given him the photo of a sturdy pioneer woman, and in his eyes and through his hands, pencils and brushes, she somehow emerged as a regal woman in an elegant gown, by the time the painting was done! 

My 3 younger sisters, always accepting, faithful and true. Understanding friends to me over the years. Beautiful women, that love their husbands, their children, motherhood, and home. Far away, yet always there for me in a heartbeat, if I were to need them, and right by my side as much as possible when I'm able to make a trip, back  "home". My precious brother in law, Paul, my sister's husband, going out of his way to swing by--from Wisconsin--while out on business, to take the children to *Chuck E Cheese* to talk and laugh, eat all the salad and pizza they wanted, and play all the games they'd like, to love them--'til their eyes are rolling in their heads, and they're ready to head home, and give them yet one more precious memory, with their "Old Pal".

Chubb's birth. Months of traveling while pregnant with 5 little ones, our cat getting hit by a car--me discovering it--barely alive, feeling turned inside-out-and-upside-down not knowing if *I'd* live through all the heartache. Moving into a new house and trying to make it a home one week before he was born--at home. So incredibly tired from the difficult days leading up to the birth. My sister in law, Susie, Big Papa's brother's wife, there with me at the birth. So sensitive. So gentle. So kind. So kind. Her sitting beside me on the floor, massaging my feet, loving me, mothering me, from her tender heart, right on through transition, and up until I gave birth.

My dear friend, my mother in law, Pat, teaching me to love unconditionally. To give and give, and give some more, from my heart, as she has always done. To think the best of everyone, and do good to anyone when it is within your power to do so, as she has always done. Through the giving of herself, and her authentic example, she has led me to become so many things I never was before I knew her.

My dear friend, Doreen, bringing cookies and bread, for all different occasions, with so much love. Making quilts and wall-hangings, for me, and for everyone she loves.

The gifted and caring ob-gyn, that God blessed me with. After two birthing center births, and seven  home births, came a hospital birth--a c-section. Everything completely foreign, me scared, fragile, crying inside (and many times outside), leaving my littlest ones for the very first time, drowning in concern for my unborn baby, my womb no longer a safe place. A special person, taking the time to show love and kindness to each one that crossed his path. He listened, he accepted, he patiently explained, he held out hope, and when the moment of birth--unlike any birth I had ever experienced, came, he walked alongside me; before, during, and after (thank-You, God... I'll always be grateful) quietly, in gentleness and understanding, bringing my daughter into the world, then allowing me the gift, of all the time and space I needed, to transform my birth and the hours following, into something of peace and beauty and joy. "Let the farmer give his corn, the miner his gem....the poet his poem." Truly, one of the most precious gifts, of my adult life.

My beloved friend, Heidi, listening, listening, and praying for me, while I made my way through this time of growth and change of the c-section, and the hospital stays that led up to it (and many other times  besides, in years gone by), and responding with the gift of a beautiful song she wrote for me--yet another priceless treasure.

My beautiful friend, Glo, sewing the gift of a quilt, for my very first daughter, Rosie (as a *welcome to the world*, gift) with a Rose in the center of each block. Paul, her love (and ours, too) picking oranges for us, off the tree at his mother's house in Florida, boxing them up and sending them all the way to us, with one of his wonderful letters. Paul, entirely by himself, putting a new roof on our house, in two days. The two of them never looking for, or expecting anything in return. Just always freely giving a portion of themselves, and lovingly accepting a portion or ourselves.

My dear sweet children, daily lavishing upon me, the gifts of their drawings, their paintings, their poetry, their songs, their unearthed treasures from their endless explores in field and forest and along the ocean's shore. The things they cook and bake, and the many thoughtful cups of "tea". The smiles, the hugs, the kisses, the "I love you's", that come from deep inside them, carrying all their hearts hold, for me. And, above all, their friendship--the sweetest thing to me.

...The only gift, is a portion of thyself ...

Comments

  1. I did not find your mom's blog until near the time she quit doing it...but I so enjoyed what she had to share. This is a treasure and indeed a wonderful historical (of family and friends) account even. She was a wonderful person...also blessed with SO MANY other wonderful people...not everyone has such in life...but it is nice to read of those who have!! I am sorry she left you so young, but so glad you have her words to comfort you!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  2. Ohhh... I remember reading this post as if it were yesterday... So beautiful. Thank you for posting this. Your mom was such a special soul. I'll stop here because no words are enough.

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  3. So lovely to read your Mama's beautiful writings once again. She touched so many hearts. I loved her sweet soul. Thankful I'll see her again one day.

    Thank you for sharing her words with us.

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  4. Thank you for sharing a little part of your Mama . Her writing and herself were a blessing to us all.

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  5. What a blessing to read this once more. I so enjoyed your mother's posts. They were an inspiration to me. I did not know many stay at home momma's and her site was as if I had a close friend who understood my day to day. I am blessed, thank you, Rosie!

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  6. your dear mama is missed - especially deeply missed by her family - but to me and other original 'readers' as well. thank you for taking time to share her heart once again. such a legacy - that you seem to be carrying on yourself. <3

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