by Crochey Day
I didn’t want to do it, but I did. Every time I went to the store, buying the groceries that we could only afford because of food stamps, I found myself going through the Christmas aisles. Bright plastic toys lined the shelves in every direction, slick shiny boxes with slick, shiny price tags. Price tags we couldn’t afford. It was only two weeks until Christmas, and things hadn’t gotten better the way they were supposed to. I felt sick. I couldn’t bear it. How could I face my children on Christmas morning with empty hands? They wouldn’t understand, and I just couldn’t bear it.
Back at home, my eyes strayed across a ball of yarn on the end table, and I felt like kicking myself. I’m a crafter, I thought. Making things is what I do. Surely I have enough supplies in my stash to make something for my children. I went through my closet of yarn: it was not much depleted. I hadn’t had the heart to crochet much since my husband lost his job in the summer, but as I turned over the skeins and scraps of blue, red, green, and yellow, I felt something stirring. Something that had been stunned started to revive and I put the pieces together into possibilities. When I uncovered a re-wound ball of peach acrylic and most of a bag of stuffing in a corner, the pieces clicked into place.
I would make a doll, for my little daughter, and some Angry Birds for my son. I worked as quickly as I could, at night while they slept, and as the pieces came together I felt a peace of my own settling over me. When they were done they were so beautiful – cheerful and brightly colored, big and soft and wonderful. I loved them. I even found the motivation to make a few extra things, and I smiled as I did.
With some serious scraping I managed to pull together nearly twenty dollars and took a trip to the dollar store to fill out their gifts a little more. A ball here, a puzzle there, a couple of coloring books later and I had something that would look – if not normal – a little less depressing under the tree. I wrapped them up with paper and bows purchased the year before and blessed my habit of shopping the after-Christmas clearance sales, and as I tucked them under the tree it didn’t look as bare as I’d feared.
On Christmas Eve my son brought me a card he had made with a folded piece of printer paper and some markers. “Don’t read it till tomorrow, Mommy,” he said as he tucked it onto my nightstand.
“I won’t,” I promised, and I didn’t.
In the morning when I awoke, the first thing I did was pull that card from the stand. It was decorated with hearts. “For mom and dad do not read until chrismas,” the front read. I opened it, and my eyes flooded with tears as I read the words he had written inside. “I hope all the presents are great but if not I love you its ok I love you no matter what.”
I cried – I cried from the pain I felt at the sudden revelation that I hadn’t been able to hide the strain of our situation from my six-year-old, I cried with pride that he understood what was important, and I cried for love of him. When I finally composed myself we went out into the living room with the kids to open their presents, and as it turned out it was a very merry Christmas, after all.
About the Author
Crochey Day is happy to be able to say that things have gotten better, although she still appreciates the frugal approach to crafting, which is why she collects free crochet patterns in the Crochet Day to Day directory.
Article © Crochey Day. All rights reserved.