I think I was around ten the day we ventured over to my Grandpa and Grandma's home for supper with my Dad's family. This was a special occasion because my Great Aunt and Uncle's were visiting. How I loved and admired my two Aunts. We had visited them several years earlier when my family went on a cross country trip. My Aunt Peggy was from Mississippi and was a true Southern lady. She worked hard in her yard and had gorgeous flower gardens and yet I remember sitting on her lap that day just rubbing her hands, they were so smooth and soft. My Aunt Norma lived in Tennessee and was a farmer's wife. They had cows and chickens along with a huge vegetable garden... I saw in her my dream of living on land. I admired them and was excited to be spending time with them on that afternoon when we all gathered at my Grandparents home.
Towards the end of the day, my Aunt Norma gave my mom a kitchen scrubby that she had made and my Aunt Peggy gave her a kitchen wash cloth. Sadly, I remember thinking it was the silliest gift to give someone. Yes they made it, but why would you make something that you could so easily buy? And why would you give someone something to wash dishes with as a present? In my foolishness, I just did not understand.
About eight months ago I got the itch to learn how to knit. My Mom, sister and I headed over to the local JoAnn's and gathered up the needed tools and supplies to begin this adventure. I was so excited... to learn an art that the older generations used... to make things for those I loved. I had grand ambitions that evening to make all sorts of Christmas presents during our summer break and so I set out to learn quickly. Sadly though, with a newborn, homeschooling and all that goes with running a home I was not able to focus on it fully and I quietly put it away. Finally this fall I was able to pull it out and began knitting some scarves. I made one for Faith and then the boys were asking when they would get their own scarf. I was happy to oblige. Once I was finished with those I came across the idea of making my own dish clothes. I made my way back to JoAnn's to grab some more yarn and began the project. As I sat there, knitting our first kitchen wash cloth, I began to think of what a wonderful just because I love you present this would make. And then I sadly remembered the scrubby and wash cloth that my Aunts had made my Mom. At the age of ten, I was so focused on the gift instead of the love that went into the gift. I missed the art, the time and the love that they were giving.
So, here I sit so many years later, making the same thing. Yet, this time I realize that it is an art and I know the love that goes into each stitch. Now I understand the gift that my Aunts were giving to my Mom and I find myself thankful for being able to make something little yet something practical for those I love. A just because gift. A gift of love.