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i remember feeling like this…

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At the end of January, in the middle of the worst winter on record, Ella and I planned a breakfast date before going to her new school.  She was having a more than a little trouble adjusting, even though the move was her idea, and her choice.  Instead of going to Starbucks for a before-school oatmeal breakfast date with my girly as planned, I sat in the dining room, watching desperately sad tears roll down her pink cheeks as if caught in slow motion.  She was so sad.  As sad as seven years old can be (which is, incidentally, very, deeply sad).

As usual, I had just asked her to put on her coat and then I sat down to wait.  I took out my planner to jot down one more thing for today and looked up, only to notice her standing next to me.  Not putting on a coat.  Crying.

“Why do you only have me written in your book 2 times, mommy?” (choke, sob….heart breaking)

“What are you talking about?”

“You have all these things written in your book, and only two have my name by them.  And one is CROSSED OFF!!”

At which point, she begins bawling in can’t-catch-your-breath sobs. I am confounded.  This child, with whom I spend every waking (and almost every sleeping) moment, other than when she is at school, dearly wants validation in writing. As far as she was concerned I Forgot Her.

Just because we know how deeply we love our children, and even when we feel like we’re showing it, we can always take a minute to tell them, too.

It is so easy to forget how delicate children are.  She saw all the things I was writing and quickly assumed they were the most important things in my day, my week, my life.  Of course they weren’t. They were the things I was afraid I’d forget, or at least neglect prioritizing.  I told her this, but the little soul-damage had already been done.  I’m sure her little heartbreak is healed by now, but it’s made a lasting impression on me.

I never forget to prioritize my children.  I wait at home (or rush to get here) so I can be around to listen to my 16 year old tell me about his day.  I put my own projects aside so I can sit and listen with all my heart and mind when Ella practices violin. I mentioned in an interview recently that if I didn’t have children, I would just work all the time; that’s how much I love my work.  But I don’t work all the time, because these kids of mine make Meaning in my otherwise busybusybusy life.  I love them MORE. They require that I take time for nurturing, whether it’s caring for them directly, generally making time to connect, or even to take care of myself.

And how are they supposed to know that, if I don’t tell them with words?  This is the only life they have – they don’t have anything else with which they can compare their life’s experience.  They have the best mom in the world, but they can’t know that because they have never had a bad one, right?  So, I have learned my lesson in communication.  I acknowledge how important she is to me in writing.  

I put her name in my planner at least once a day.

Articulate your Love

I’d love to hear from you:

Do you tell your kids how important they are with words?  Obviously actions are more important, because that creates their baseline experience, but how do you come out and articulate their importance in your life?

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  • Gabrielle Kaminski Krake March 26, 2014, 1:14 pm

    Beautifully written… a good reminder, thank you. I also have spent every waking moment with my kids, even school, and I still need to be reminded that they need to know how important they are to me in words and deeds. My husband leaves a note for me everyday (yes everyday) and it gives me joy and strength throughout the day. You have inspired me to do this for them. A tiny gesture but knowing how it affects me, I want to pay it forward to them!

    Reply
    • Karen March 26, 2014, 7:48 pm

      Thank you for stopping by, Gabrielle! I’m so happy to hear that you are inspired to take action!

      Reply
  • Kylie March 26, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Oh, what a lovely post! Ella sounds like such a sweet little soul. And one who’s very lucky to have you raising her. Such sweetness.

    Reply
    • Karen March 26, 2014, 7:49 pm

      Thank you, Kylie. I’m lucky she’s my baby!

      Reply
  • Cindy Molnar March 26, 2014, 7:36 pm

    Karen thank you for sharing your heart and Ella’s too. I grew up with parents who owned their own business and worked all the time however they were at every sports game, practice and we ate dinner together almost every night and yet I still felt lonely. I vowed when I became a parent my child(ren) would know….well I am a parent and I too have fallen short. I too have had these conversations with my now 11 year old son who asked me to start writing him notes again in his lunch box. Our family experienced a second in a year life threatening fall of my husband. He has suffered two severe brain/head traumas and is still living today and talking, walking and smiling; however a boy has seen his dad bleed from places unimaginable and has asked WAY TOO MANY TIMES; is daddy going to live. So yes I get the heartache and I get the pressure of time and caring for others. You are an amazing mom, designer and inspiration of a woman. I reached out to you last year after your finger injury and you called me back several times to walk me through the Brick Bag steps; thank you! So what do I do daily? I wake up my son (we have three kids and three grandbabies but our son is our last at home) with a back scratch, prayers and blessings for his day, I make him chocolate chip pancakes almost everyday and pack his lunch with a special note or quote. Yes it’s exhausting however he deserves my best because I know that is what he will give his children someday. We do homework together and now and days I have to let him fly out the door to hang out with his friends before returning for dinner. I cannot tell you how much I needed this post today and will pray for Ella and your whole family…..it’s not easy being mom however as I pass out most days here lately I look around my home and know I am blessed and loved and so are the ones sharing it with me.

    Reply
    • Karen March 26, 2014, 7:47 pm

      Of course I remember you, Cindy. I’m so sorry to hear that your family are having so much heartbreak right now. Thanks you for sharing your sweet routine. I just know your family will remember fondly all the special touches you have incorporated into your daily routine, and feel the love you radiate!

      Reply

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