I spent a week in Las Vegas recently with my 83-year-old aunt, who has been like a mother to me, since my own died 10 years ago. She has been an avid handworker for years, doing all kinds of crafts, and she introduced me to many of them in my early years, and although she is not my mother, she certainly was the mother of my desire to craft! And I was the daughter she didn't have -- she had three boys, so teaching them her crafts wasn't in the cards. Her niece, however, was always anxious to see what she had going while visiting! We spent many enjoyable hours crafting as I grew up, and when I was a young adult. In fact, that has always been a part of our relationship.
Her favorite craft of all has been Brazilian embroidery, and in fact she taught it for quite a while. Her needlework hangs all over her walls, but when you look closely at each piece, the dates on them read '84, '92, '87 etc. She laid her stitchery down about 15 years ago, due to health problems, and just never picked it up again. Then last year, her middle son, and in many ways her favorite, died suddenly at 53. She has been in a depression ever since.
My visit in February was very special. I brought with me all kinds of beautiful hand dyed wool from my huge collection (inventory, really) and I introduced her to penny rugs. Her eyeballs were like two ping pong balls on the end of her nose! She LOVED it and that's all we did the entire week. She worked on a candle mat penny rug, with Brazilian flowers in the middle of each penny. So pretty! I designed and produced a little piece, of a partridge in a pear tree. She couldn't take her eyes off that picture all week, and she just kept saying how lovely it was. So I snuck out with my uncle and got a frame and mat and left it out for her to find in the morning, and keep. She cried. Then she hugged me, and she cried more, telling me how much it meant to her for me to come and bring a spark back into her life. I cried, too!
Since I have returned home, we have been in touch and I've sent her more wool. She called a few weeks ago and said that they have bought her a scooter, so that she can get out more now. She has trouble walking due to diabetes, and has been pretty housebound for a long time. But now she has brightened up so much that she wants to hit the mall! It was wonderful to hear what a chain reaction of joy I had started, simply bringing some wool with me and spending some time with her.
I hope to go back out soon. It means so much to me that I could give back to my aunt something she had given to me long ago, when she showed me her crafts and helped me learn how to do them.