My Mother Found This When She Cleaned the Basement

Not long ago, my mother read the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”  That prompted her to do a major clean-out of the basement.  Imagine!  55 years of stuff accumulating for two adults and three children.  Well, the children’s stuff hasn’t been accumulating.  We cleared ours out several years ago in the last big purge.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

But there was still a lot of stuff.

My parents have had a number of hobbies over the years. And then there’s the seasonal decorations, clothes, appliances you only use a few times year.  You know what it’s like.  You have it too.

So here was my mother, diligently cleaning and purging.  It was so much work.  And way at the bottom of some pile she found something belonging to us kids that we hadn’t known was still there – our Barbies.

(c) Kathleen Thompson

(c) Kathleen Thompson

Now I have to tell you that I didn’t really like playing with Barbies.  I must preferred active games like kickball (or anything else with a ball, for that matter), hide-and-seek, or 4-squares.  And if we were inside, I liked board or card games.  Not so much dolls.  And really not Barbies.  Once they were dressed I was bored.  And that took maybe 1 minute.  Two if I thought about which outfit to choose.

So I didn’t love playing with the dolls.  But what I did love was the clothes.  Why?  Because my mother and grandmother had made most of them.  Tiny dresses and skirts.  The most amazing one was the knitted coat.  My Grandmother Thompson made it.  It had a mohair collar.  So soft and furry.  Like petting the softest cat.  And it was unique.  Other kids had store-made clothes.  Ours were designer clothes.  Designed and made by the women in my family.

(c) Kathleen Thompson

(c) Kathleen Thompson

What love went into making them!  Even at that age, I appreciated it.  The microscopic stitches.  The tiny buttons.  It’s hard enough to knit something with sleeves and separate collar in a regular size, never mind that small.  Same with the tailored dresses.  I don’t even know how you make the stitches small enough.  It’s like the people who make reproduction doll houses.  All that miniature furniture, furnishings, and fake food.  It takes skill, patience, and a special eye.  And definitely love.  Love for the craft.  And more important, love for the one to whom the gift will be given.

I’m so glad my mother found the Barbies.  Over the years I had asked what happened to them, and no one knew.  I was distressed to think they had been lost.  And there they were.  Waiting to be discovered.  Waiting for us to ooh and ah over the exquisite outfits made with love.  Whenever I look at them, I am reminded of my mother and grandmother’s skill, artistry, and love.  The love they infused into their art as a gift to us.

Sometimes love looks like sacrifice.  Bringing food.  Or offering shelter.  Sometimes love looks like togetherness.  A shoulder to cry on.  Shared laughter.  Shared memories.  And sometimes it looks like tiny art made with skill and craftsmanship.  This holiday season why not make love your gift?  It will look as unique as the relationship you have with each person.  And they will cherish the gift as they cherish the giver.

What gift of love have you received in the past?  How can you give love this holiday season?  Share in the comments.