The student
Wednesday March 12th 2008, 1:52 pm
Filed under: Amaryllis,Life

Amaryllis impersonating a giraffe faceDon’t miss the caption on that first picture. And hey, Lene, that stalk to the left? That’s the second one from your bulb.

There were a few years way back when where my knitting needles were on an extended vacation. But I did do a lot of smocking back then: I bought a pleater to gather up the fabric, which I then embroidered over to make fancy outfits for my babies and for my daughters for awhile longer.

When my youngest boy was just starting to walk and talk, I got in the mood to make some more smocked baby dresses, even though at that point there were going to be no more baby girls in this family; we were done. I made three. It somehow felt important to do.

Smocked jumper and pleaterMy oldest sister, whom I’d thought was done too, suddenly announced she and her husband were expecting; I waited, wondering, and, yes, she had a girl. Tadaah! I forget now who got the second dress–it’ll come to me–and the third one was the most important of all.

A foreign student at Stanford found out she was about to become a single mother. She was from a culture where you didn’t, didn’t, didn’t do that. EVER. She didn’t know if or how she could return to her home country or what to do next. She could probably never marry there now. But she decided she couldn’t possibly give up the daughter she loved for adoption–that was her child. No. My friend Renee, who found out about her, found out that she took the baby home from the hospital with only a shoebox for a crib, and Renee asked around at church and managed to round up some essential supplies for her and, we dearly hoped, a sense of emotional support as well.

And I had that smocked baby dress, brand new, to give her for her baby girl. Something to celebrate her birth. I sent it via Renee with a card with the message that I felt that every new child in this world deserves to be celebrated with something handmade with love just for them. And that it had been: I’d just had to wait to find out who that baby was, at the time I was making it, and now I knew. It had been for her.

Renee moved, and I never knew how life turned out for that woman and her daughter. She would be about 18 now.

So often, life is like that. We don’t get to find out. We only get to know we played a part that mattered at the time when it was most needed.

10 Comments so far
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I’m sure the mom appreciated the dress more than our words could express.

Amaryllee giraffe, alright!

Comment by Toni 03.12.08 @ 3:10 pm

That first caption made me laugh, but it’s true!! You have such a good heart. While I would like to know how it all turns out, I think that there are many times we’re just supposed to “be there” for that instant, and move on. I still sometimes wonder about the patients I cared for as a firefighter/medic…

Comment by Channon 03.12.08 @ 3:12 pm

A pleater? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Which is why I made exactly one smocked dress and then stopped. I have made many things for babies–some of them for babies and mothers I didn’t know. But not smocked dresses. I do hope that mother enjoyed the dress, and that she and her baby could feel the love.

Comment by Laura 03.12.08 @ 6:15 pm

Me too! I had no idea there was such a thing as a pleater. Go figure.

Ages ago, I held a little 2yo on a long bus ride because her mother got tired of doing so…she fell asleep in my arms and stayed there all night. Thanks for reminding me, because I do wonder sometimes what happened to her…she ought to be about 26 or so now.

Comment by Karin 03.13.08 @ 6:32 am

how terribly sweet…i love little smocked dresses!

Comment by marti 03.13.08 @ 7:29 am

I want one…Amaryllis, not the dress 🙂 I had a boy so no smocked dresses for me. My sister had girls but I didnt get to make them much when they were little, so am trying to make up for it now by knitting things…the only problem, their mom hasnt taught them to value Handmade gifts yet. My only hope is that someday they will learn and mine and other’s gifts will be appreciated.

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 03.13.08 @ 9:53 am

You wrote: ‘So often, life is like that. We don’t get to find out. We only get to know we played a part that mattered at the time when it was most needed.

Thank you, Alison. I needed to be reminded of that this morning.

Comment by Linda W 03.13.08 @ 10:46 am

Linda, part of Heaven in my view is getting to find out later and to tell each other thank you, looking back. It will be one infinitely grand reunion party.

Comment by AlisonH 03.13.08 @ 10:49 am

Babies happen. I don’t think we can ever make too many baby things. Someone will come along who needs them. And they’re always made with love; how can they not be?

Comment by amy 03.13.08 @ 12:14 pm

It’s so wonderful, how everything you make has served some lovely purpose and touched peoples’ lives. You’re truly one of the most beautiful and selfless people I’ve ever known. *long distance hug*

Comment by Ren 03.13.08 @ 1:33 pm

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