Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This is a layout I am making for the Lifebook Challenge at Heritage Scrap led by my friend Vicki of Victorian Rose Designs. A Life Book is a book that tells the story of one person's life in systematic order. We are working on it as a group and people can join in at any time. We'll probably run the challenge cyclically. Anyway, this page is the right hand side of a two page layout and I used a background paper from Veronica Spriggs and blended a childhood photo of my Grandma. The little shoes are from Cari Lopez' new christening kit. The rest of the elements come from Digizines by Teri and Jean Daugherty - I used pieces from several kits to get the look I want. The left hand side of this layout will have the journaling about my Grandma's birth and early childhood... I'm still working on it.
For Mother's Day, I want to share somethign I wrote for the Heritage Scrap newsletter, which ended up not getting done as planned due to wild fires in Santa Barbara where she lives. I've shared a lot about my Grandma Hopkins, so you may have read all this in my blog in the past if you've been around for awhile.
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Moms and Ladies who step in with wonderful mothering cares even if they aren't moms themselves!
"Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got til it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

There is a reason that they keep remaking that Joni Mitchell song - probably because most of us learn the hard way! In the last years of my Grandma Holly Hopkins' life, I began to appreciate her more and more. Though she lived nearly 96 years, it was not long enough for me.

Of course I loved her as a child, but I did not consider her my "fun" Grandma. Still some of my favorite memories are gatherings around her table for Thanksgiving and Mother's Day. She always had what she called "surprises" for us, which usually turned out to mean work - our own patch in the garden, building projects etc. She did have a way of turning chores into games like "beat the clock" We called her a perfectionist, but she denied this and called herself an "efficiency expert" instead. Because I was an awkward girl, I found myself to be what I considered the "brunt" of her efficiency efforts!

Just as our parents "grow wiser" as we age, so do grandparents. As a new bride living far from home, one of my layouts was chosen by Memory Makers for publication in their Quilted Scrapbooks book. The title of my layout was "Things I Learned From A Kindergarten Teacher", playing off the famous Robert Fulghum book All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It featured a photo of my Grandma in the middle of an Ohio Start quilt block. All around the block, I journaled the things that my Grandma Hopkins had either directly taught me or greatly influenced my interest - foremost my faith and study of Scripture, but also gardening, knitting, creativity, love of nature, reading... The list went on, amazingly long as tears streamed down my face. I realized that who I am now is a direct result of her immense involvement in my raising. It was then that I also realized that when seemed overly critical of me, she was correcting the things she disliked most in her self. Oddly, in spite of outward appearances being so different, I was so much like her!

Sadly for us, 2 weeks after meeting my 2.5 months old son (her first great grandchild), she went to sleep one night and arose in Heaven. She has not yet met her twin grand daughters, but they have met her. In addition to pictures and memories, she lives on in their school books (from her classroom), their toys, the food they eat (her recipes) and in their mom!

Tears come easily as I write now. I would love to share the every day joys of my family with her. But, I can only smile as I crack open one of her books and I see her writing, or a note slips out - voices, memories, words, guidance - from the past. Holly Tisdale Hopkins (1906-2002) was quite an accomplished woman in her lifetime, but her greatest contributions were intangible. Thank God for Mamas! And thank God for Grandmothers who forever change our lives.

Don't wait until paradise is paved over. Tell the woman of influence in your life, how much she means to you. Happy Mother's Day!

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