An Ode to Good People and the Art of Gifting

All of us have friends and family that we love and are close to.  For most of us though there are really only a few people that we deeply respect and are always in our thoughts. I'm not always great at telling people how I feel, so I thought I would take a moment to express my gratitude to two very special women in my life.

First up is my mother-in-law, Carol. Not only did she turn my husband into the man he is today (good, bad and sometimes even ugly) but she welcomed my son and me into the family with open arms and a beaming smile. She has an almost  childish exuberance, a quick wit, sharp tongue and an infectious smile. She's the type of person that would literally give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.

While her life hasn't always been what we would call great, she hasn't let any of that dim her light. She works as a prayer councilor, which is something I respect greatly, even though I am not a religious person. Anyone who can open themselves up day after day to help others and not bring home the pain and depression that some of those calls bring has an inner strength we should all aspire to. As a result of her truly beautiful soul, I always want to surround her in comforting beautiful things. For her Ruby Anniversary (40th for those of you keeping score) I made a ruby red throw for the couch, easy and quick in my book, but the pure gratitude was overwhelming.  Her birthday falls just before Mother's Day, so I like to do 1 amazing thing for her.  Last year it was a prayer shawl with a Virgin Mary silhouette. This year is still a secret as I haven't gifted it yet.

I agonize over handmade gifts.  Seriously.  Hours spent pouring over patterns trying to find that perfect "thing". The closer that person is to me, the more stress is involved.  I like gifts that are usable and have meaning. Anyone can hit a boutique and pick up a pashmina scarf, not everyone can gift a Hogwarts scarf in both book and movie colors.

Which brings me to the second wonderful lady, Katie. I've only known Katie for about a year, but in that year she has become someone I greatly admire. Katie is light and rainbows and everything that sparkles. She's quick with a hug and a smile and laughs at even the silliest jokes her children come up with.  She has more knowledge about free range child rearing that I knew existed. When we decided to have another baby, she's who I asked to learn about all those things I wanted to do with my other children but just didn't know how. She's a great friend and one of my best customers.  In my world we work on the barter system if possible. Katie product tests and takes wonderful photos (her daughter is the cutest model in the world!) As a result, I get to knit for littles and Katie gets handmades at cost or for a few great photos that I can use. 

She also has a wonderful mother that helps her out as she needs it. Together they are quite the woodworking pair, we have a few teething toys and watercolor boards that have come from them. Katie is one of those rare individuals whose life revolves around her children and doesn't lose herself in the mix. She teaches her littles with a perfect balance of discipline and whimsy, her children are still children, but respectful children.  That's something you just don't see everyday.

In conclusion, Carol and Katie, please know how much I value the time we have together, even if it's only a small amount.  You both make me see things in a different way, which makes me better at what I do.