Saturday, December 27, 2014

Of Bells and Bears

My sister made me a bear once.  I think it was for my birthday, not for Christmas, but she made me a bear.  My mother offered to assist, to help her with a pattern, or - at the very least - some sort of plan.  But, no.  Big Sis' was going to wing it.  And when I opened the gift, I remember being sort of shocked.  And silent for a moment.  The bear had no arms and only one massively misshaped ear.  In place of the other ear he had a make up for the lack, I suppose.  His legs were a bit wonky and his seams were on the outside of him.  But it only took me the space of that one shocked, silent moment to know that this was a Long Term Bear.  That I'd love him.  My sister was at hand, awaiting The Response, and I'm sure I said "awww."  I still have that bear.  I have him here, in fact, and not just in storage back in my parents' attic.

That's why, when Millie decided to make a bear for her own little sister for Christmas, and she was a little surprised when she turned it right-side-out before stuffing it that it didn't look quite how she'd pictured it, how she'd intended it, I had my own Big Sis' Bear on hand to illustrate what I told her.  First of all, that her bear was shaping up to be pretty darn awesome.  Two ears, two arms, two fairly symmetrical legs.  Second, that no matter how it shaped up, it would be loved.  Essie would love it the way I loved the bear my sister had made for me.  It's not really about how plump or symmetrical or evenly stitched it is.  It's that when your sister makes you something, you love it.  It's adorable.  Inherently.  You can't not love it.  And then, to top it all off, she went and sewed on these perfect little blue buttons for the eyes and nose.  And gave it a jingle bell bracelet as an after thought, inspired by the little bell-ear my own bear has sported proudly all these years.  (I guess I took these pictures before she added the jingle was a little green bell on a golden cord.  You'll just have to picture it.)

So, of course, Essie opened her bear on Christmas Eve and loved it.  Right away, in fact.  No shock.  No silence.  Just an immediate "awww!" and a big hug and lots of smiles and excitement.  She named it Belle.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Merry October!

The following is an excerpt from Rainbow Rowell's book, Attachments.  I do love October.  And this was such a fun book.  I should read it again...
From: Beth Fremont
To: Jennifer Scribner-Snyder
Sent: Thurs, 10/14/1999 11:09 AM
Subject: October, at last!
Callooh! Callay!

<<Jennifer to Beth>> At last? October is half over. And what’s in October anyway?
<<Beth to Jennifer>> Not “what’s in,” what is. October. My favorite month. Which, by the way, has only half begun.
Some find it melancholy. “October,” Bono sings, “and the trees are stripped bare . . .”
Not I. There’s a chill in the air that lifts my heart and makes my hair stand on end. Every moment feels meant for me. In October, I’m the star of my own movie—I hear the soundtrack in my head (right now, it’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”)—and I have faith in my own rising action.
I was born in February, but I come alive in October.
<<Jennifer to Beth>> You’re a nut.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> A hazelnut. A filbert.
October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins.
O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!
<<Jennifer to Beth>> I do love tiny candy bars.
<<Beth to Jennifer>> Merry October!
<<Jennifer to Beth>> All right, Merry October! Why not?