Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paper Snowflakes

I have these paper snowflakes hanging from the chandelier over my dining room table. They are tiny, delicate, delightful.  And they remind me of my mum.  When I was pregnant with #3 and the hospital was too full to induce and babe had no intention of forcing their hand by coming on her own, I was restless. It's amazing the things you have time for when it hurts to move and your body is swollen past what seems to be the bursting point. So we entertained ourselves with jigsaw puzzles and answering strangers' "when are you due" questions (their alarmed "oh no is she gonna deliver right here" reactions were great!)...

...And cutting snowflakes.  My mom, my eldest, and I.  Three women, three pairs of scissors, three kinds of snowflakes.  Some boxy and awkward from little hands still learning the art of handling scissors.  Mom's, lacy and small and beautiful.  And mine, ever so wanting to be like mom's but never quite losing the squarish look of a grammar school snowflake.
As I glance at the intricate paper slowing spinning above my table, I am lonely. I miss the camaraderie and companionship of doing something as simple as snipping snowflakes together. I'm disappointed that distance prevents us from enjoying such activities.  The longing makes me ponder days gone by when ladies would gather around a big farm table and quilt and chatter. Or can the harvest and chatter. Or whatever ... and chatter. See, while I like the handiwork, it's the chatter I miss, long for. I was reading one of Ann Voskamp's recent blog entries about generations gathered around a sewing machine and that same yearning nerve was touched.
Doesn't it seem like the Titus 2 thing would happen so easily in such a setting?  That the younger women would naturally learn from the older?  That not only would the art of keeping a home be handed down, but that that big comforting table and the ladies around it would offer wisdom and respite and reassurance for the young mom, whose quiver is full not only of kiddos but laundry and interrupted sleep and middle of the night self-doubt.

Somewhere with all our women's rights and equality, we've lost something valuable. While we were fighting for equal rights and recognition and gaining the opportunity to pursue dreams once unreachable, we abandoned the days of gathering over fabric and needles, wood stoves and canning jars.  The super-woman complex was born, and we proved we could do it all and do it better.  And we walked away from the support and camaraderie of that big table.  

I desperately wish we could find our way back.
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