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Mother’s Day Gifts – Homemade

In 1971, I thought I gave my mom the best Mother’s Day gift ever.

As the only girl in the fourth grade who couldn’t make the highly competitive glee club class at Christopher Columbus PS 15, I had a free period every Tuesday morning and my teacher, Miss Hall, decided that I should be productive. She suggested crocheting and supplied me with a hook, colorful yarn and patient weekly lessons of the chain stitch, the slip stitch and the double crochet.  From the fall to the spring, as strains of “America the Beautiful” wafted down the hallway, I sat at my desk and tirelessly worked at crafting acrylic squares.

By the time the glee club was ready for its spring concert, I had produced enough pieces to construct an article of clothing, but not enough for a blanket. Miss Hall offered to stitch all the panels together to make something wearable and we both agreed that I could surprise my mother with it for Mother’s Day. I knew it would be special because Miss Hall always looked pretty in her mod dresses and miniskirts of every color.

My mom seemed very surprised when she saw her present – a sweater vest made of eighteen orange and brown granny squares, nine on the front side and nine on the back. She said she couldn’t believe that I made it myself and gently placed it back into the box. And she decided that we should thank Miss Hall by inviting her over for lunch the next week.

Forty two years later, I can still remember walking home with my favorite teacher for our thank you lunch. I knocked to let my mom know we were there and she opened the door to our apartment wearing her newly crocheted vest, brown dress pants, and the biggest smile. Miss Hall gasped with delight and I felt a surge of joy and pride like never before.

My mom prepared her signature dish of homemade ravioli and meatballs. We sat at our tiny chrome kitchen table, eating and talking and it seemed as if the two women I adored most had known each other all along.

At the tender age of nine, I started to realize that no one present could ever really compare to the many moments my mom had made for me. Through the years, I understood that a gift on the second Sunday in May was just an outward expression on a national holiday. I know I honor my mother every time I take the gifts of grace, generosity and love she gave to me and pass them on to others.

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