Monday, March 17, 2008

The gift that keeps on giving

My mother is skilled at both knitting and crocheting but she favored the hook so naturally I did too. I remember my goal was to crochet different outfits for my Barbies. My mom had made this cool blue and grey coat for my Kissing Barbie and I was determined to master a wedding gown that came from the same pattern book. (It took a while but I got 'er done.)

My mom was forever making crocheted pillows for people as gifts. That was her special project. In second grade, I had a classmate named Natasha. Now, Natasha wasn't always nice to me but her mom used to give my brother and me a ride to school if she saw us waiting for the bus on rainy days. She didn't know us beyond the fact I was in her daughter's class but she said she felt bad to see us out there. My mother thought it was nice of her to offer the ride without knowing us so Mom made her one of her special pillows as a thank you gift. I'll be honest...I didn't even want to take it to school. As I said Natasha wasn't always nice to me. She dragged that pillow all over the gymnasium floor during lunch. I was sure her mother never got it.

Fast forward 10 years, I'm in high school in a different town sitting at a honors breakfast with my mom. The woman sitting across from us keeps staring at me and finally asks, "Did you go to Calvary Christian school?" I tell her yes and she asks if the woman with me is my mother. When I tell her yes, she leans over and introduces herself to my mom.

"I know we never met, but I used to give your kids a ride when I saw them on the bus stop years ago. You made me this pillow as a thank you gift and I loved it. I still have it sitting on my bed. It was such a special gift. So beautiful. So thoughtful."

My mother and I are both surprised by her emotional reaction. The two of them begin chatting and find out they both work in the same building and are members of the same union. My mother gains a new friend all from a handmade gift she made for a stranger who was nice to her kids. And 17 years after that connection over breakfast, 27 years after the pillow was first made, it still has a place of honor in that nice lady's home.