I have once again taken up the gauntlet of the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge thrown down by Ms. Jane over at Making it write! Today I pick up the glove for day 2… 🙂 (I sense a theme going on here. I wonder if I have ANOTHER R.W.E. quote written down somewhere.)
Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
This quote stopped me short the first time I read it because it dared defy the notion I’d believed most of my adult life that my mother really didn’t love me. In that moment I saw her in this quote. She was a woman who was not given to verbal affirmation or demonstrations of affection. But she was constantly giving my sister, brother, and me “things.” And not just things she bought, but things she made with her own hands.
One gift in particular stands out in my mind. She had learned to make these “doll lamps” the bottom of which where actually gallon milk jugs with the half body of a doll with the light hardware affixed to the top. She made one for both my sister and me that Christmas. I was in junior high school at the time. We both loved them. Mine reminded me so much of something, but for the life of me I couldn’t put my finger on what.
It wasn’t until 34 years later (two years after she’d passed away) when we were sorting through some things in our house to give away, get rid of, or store that I found the lamp again and it finally dawned on me what it was that was so familiar about that doll. She was dressed in a full length gown of red velvet with white fur trim at the neck, cuffs, and hem. Her hands were enclosed in a white fur muff, and on her head was a matching hat with the same trim.
Now it may have been because Christmas had just passed and we’d watched all our Christmas movies that I finally made the connection, but I suddenly went “well duh!” and realized that mom had dressed MY doll lamp just like Vera Ellen’s character in the end of my favorite movie of all time, White Christmas.
I was flabbergasted after all those years. On the surface it may just seem like something a mom would do, making a doll like her daughter’s favorite character in a movie. But there was a reason I fell in love with Vera Ellen in White Christmas. I totally admired her because she was a marvelous dancer. And my mom was the only person I’d ever told that I wanted to be a ballet dance when I grew up. It was her reaction to my “chubby” excitement and passion that made me put that thought out of my mind forever.
And as it turned out, I grew up a chunky teenager. I’m guessing on more than one occasion mom may have wondered how my body, my life would have been different had she taken what I said seriously and put me in dance. I will always wonder if that doll was her way of giving me the gift of saying she was sorry, if it was one of the few times she tried to give me a gift of herself… I’ll never know for sure, but I choose to believe so.
Thanks, Jane, for the challenge. I do enjoy these. They help me know what I’m thinkin’! I won’t, however, be nominating anyone. I’ve exhausted my list over the months. But if you would like to join in the challenge, go for it. Just leave a pingback for this post so I can come and read your marvelous quotes!