I was having one of those days when I wonder if I ever did anything right. I’ve tried to do things to help others. But did I help? Did anyone notice?
My sister let me know that the answer is yes. Sometimes at least.
We both remember that summer our mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I think it was about 1968. I’m not sure of the year. I know I was very frightened as was the rest of the family. I was raised and grown but I still needed my mom. But my little sister had a ways to go and she REALLTY needed a mom. I knew my little sister was my mother’s greatest concern when she faced that major health crisis. Still, we all had to manage the ordinary challenges of daily life kept rolling our way.
Mama always made Debbie’s school clothes (and had made mine years before), but she was facing an ordeal and major surgery that summer. I lived 1400 miles away and couldn’t help much. I really wanted to though. I knew shopping and sewing school clothes would be hard and buying ready-made outfits would be an added expense on top of the medical bills. So, I volunteered to make Debbie’s school clothes. Mama told me to use a girl’s size 8 pattern. I’m not sure she gave any other instructions… she wasn’t feeling all that well. I’m pretty sure she was a little nervous about how this project would turn out. Sewing clothes usually involves a lot of measuring and trying on. I had a lot of guesswork to do.
I shopped for fabric and patterns for my sister and my daughter that summer. I cut one outfit out, did the machine sewing, the handwork, and the pressing. And then, cut out the next one. With the change of seasons and a new school year, the two little girls needed about seven outfits each. One batch had to be mailed and time was running out.
I sewed a lot when our kids were young. That summer, I sewed more. And, I finished ahead of the deadline.
It took a while for Mama to recover. She was still weak when she thanked me for my work and assured me that the clothes fit. But I always wondered if they really did… I was far away and I never saw the clothes on my little sister.
But, the other day while we chatted on the phone, my sister remembered that summer and the clothes I made her. She told me she loved them and that they fit. The fitting part was an eight-year-old’s opinion but the “loving them” is a memory that lasted more than 40 years.
A little appreciation goes a long way and her memory turned my ordinary day into a special one. It’s okay to say thank you although it’s already been said. You just never know when a few words of appreciation will make someone’s day.