I have a very strong connection to the women in my maternal line. I named my daughter after my great grandmother as another stitch to keep that connection going. A lot of the big stories of these women’s lives are filled with loss -- loss of love, loss of health and loss of children. My grandmother, great aunt and great grandmother all had children that died at a young age. Maybe from curiosity, maybe from a need to balance my perspective of my own life, I always kept digging for those little stories that filled the every day of those women’s lives. I needed a counterbalance to those stories of loss. As a result, I have many of these precious little stories of warmth, tenderness and love.
Several years ago my Aunt Kay told me how as a first grader walking home from the one room schoolhouse she attended a quarter mile from the farmhouse my grandfather built, she would pick her mother a bouquet of violets. Later in life she found out that they were her favorite flowers. We pondered whether they were my grandmother's favorite flowers before or because her little first grader picked them for her.
These are the types of little fragments, the little pieces of beautifully decorated fabric scraps that I have always loved and hoarded. They are so lovely that I had to save them, even if I didn't know how I might use them one day.
Well now, as a mother of a toddler, it is just those little remnants that I use to connect my daughter to our past. Because they are small stories, they are easy to weave into whatever we may be doing. I have always started the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with Goldilocks out in a meadow picking beautiful purple flowers, called violets, for her mother. And then I tell my daughter, "You know, when your great Aunt Kay was a little girl she used to pick violets, too. They were for Grandma Sara. Violets were her favorite flower."
One afternoon, when Lela was about two and a half, I heard her in the other room telling the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to her stuffed animals. She started with Goldilocks picking flowers for her mother and told her little audience how they were just like the violets, the favorite flowers that Aunt Kay picked for Grandma Sara.
Another stitch, another remnant sewn into the fabric connecting us all.