“…..where someone loved him best of all…..”

“Every baby deserves to be wanted and loved and anticipated with great joy.”

That’s a Maemae-ism right there.  My Mama believed that with her whole heart.

So it was with great joy that my oldest and I had the great honor and privilege and sheer fun of planning a celebration in anticipation of the arrival of our friend’s son and her mother’s, also our dear friend, grandson.

The fun started when the Mama-to-be wrote me, “My theme is ‘Where the Wild Things Are.'”

Ahh.  Yes, I know that book.  I took Children’s Literature.  I worked in a library all through high school.  I did storytimes for years for the local library system.  I have children of my own, for goodness’ sake.  I know this book.

Or did I?

I did what most in this day and age often do.  I googled the title and expected all kinds of links to fun resources–partyware, stuffed critters for decorations, balloons, babywear, blankets, baby bedding, and so on.

And what did I find?

Ummmm, not much.

No partyware.  No balloons or baby bedding.  No blankets.  The only babywear I found was on Etsy.  If it weren’t for Etsy and Pinterest, I would not have had any ideas of where to start at all.

But I did have those sites to peruse and read and plan from.  My thoughts started flowing and I picked up my love, the paintbrush, and had A BLAST.  I went to JoAnn’s and happened upon some “Where the Wild Things Are” fabric.  It was so exciting, planning and looking for “monstery” or “Max-like” things everywhere we went.  The littles even got excited about it.  It was Cooter when he was practically laying on the floor at Hobby Lobby who found the little wood owls that eventually were de-beaked and turned into Max’s buddy.

I had a great time painting and dreaming and putting colors together.  My kitchen table was covered all week, and I couldn’t have been happier.  I was constantly texting Aub pictures to ask her if this or that was okay.  But in the midst of it all, what I enjoyed the most were two things.

First, the connection with my Mama.  She loved babies.  And she loved pampering expectant and new Mamas.  How many times did she bring me a glass of tea as I sat nursing my little ones?  How many meals did she prepare for me?  After her first grandchild was born, she left the hospital just before daybreak (having been up all night waiting), and came back later that afternoon with all kinds of baked goodies for me to snack on–including her special teacakes.  There was no way she could have gotten any sleep.  That’s how she rolled.  I think she would have enjoyed hearing about the plans for this shower, and I think she would have offered her own ideas in the mix.  She was so creative and she LOVED children’s books; I know she would have had great ideas.

The second thing is the story itself.  Rediscovering this classic by Maurice Sendak.  What a fun story.  And what a beautiful story of a mother’s love.  And grace and forgiveness.  I have so many favorite lines from this story–which I incorporated in the decorations, but one that really touched my heart that I didn’t use is this:

“…..of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot”

And there is this precious line, which is the truth that my heart cries out for the most–

“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”

Isn’t that something we all want with all of our hearts?  To be where someone loves us best of all?

*sniff*

Have I mentioned that I fell in love with this sweet story for the first time in the past two weeks?  I am so thankful for this young Mama whose heart led her to choose her own Mama’s favorite story from childhood as the theme for her baby boy’s room.  It has touched my heart and been a gift for me to experience it as though it were my first time reading it.  .

Tonight I am wishing for grace and redemption and forgiveness for this little boy to be born in a few weeks.  Most of all I wish for him to always find himself where someone loves him best of all.  It was at this shower that it hit me for the first time that when we attend a baby shower, it’s more than just going to a party and giving a gift.  At least it should be more.  It should be a covenant, a promise, we make to be there not just for the parties but also for the times when things are sad or the Mama is at her wits’ end from exhaustion or she’s sick and the baby’s sick and they just need someone to bring chicken soup and a pack of diapers in the next size up.  When the child is seven and is singing in the school play, we need to be there to celebrate with a call, a card, or our presence.  When the teenager is sassing his Mama, and she cries longing for those sleepless nights when he was a baby and so, so sweet, they’ll both need someone to hug them and say it’s all going to be okay.  It takes a village, folks.  At least it has for me in raising mine.  I think it’s more than an old African proverb.  I think it is the gospel truth.  We need each other on each step of this journey.

Tonight I am thankful for new babies and nearly grown babies and all of those in-between.  I am thankful for the village I have had, those who have already gone on up to The House and those still here.  I hope that Baby E’s life will be full to bustin’, overflowing with love, laughter, and grace.  And lots of good books too.  I keep my fingers crossed and good words said, lifting up his whole family–that they will join together and love each other through every single day.

And just for fun, I share with you some of the fun I had putting things together over the past couple of weeks.  If you saw me with the paint all over my hands and under my nails…..and even on my new magical glasses…..now you know why.

Love to all.  May you each find yourselves today where someone loves you best of all.

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

Quote from "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

Quote from “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

So happy this fabric all but jumped in my arms at the craft store

So happy this fabric all but jumped in my arms at the craft store

Max and his friend.  Thankful that Cooter found the monster critter at the craft store.

Max and his friend. Thankful that Cooter found the monster critter at the craft store.

The beautiful cake that my new talented baker friend created especially for the occasion.

The beautiful cake that my new talented baker friend created especially for the occasion.

All of it set up at the shower.  Pay no attention to the Aub photobombing there in the background.  :)

All of it set up at the shower. Pay no attention to the Aub photobombing there in the background. 🙂

The little corsage I put together at the last minute.

The little corsage I put together at the last minute.

Is there anything prettier than daffodils in a Mason jar?  Not today there's not.  My Aunt let us come gather some to bless the shower with.  And aren't they lovely?

Is there anything prettier than daffodils in a Mason jar? Not today there’s not. My Aunt let us come gather some to bless the shower with. And aren’t they lovely?

Pinterest Win, Precious Ladies, and a Promise Kept

Last year getting ready for Christmas was pretty much one Pinterest win after another.  Yes, I know, right?

I had gift ideas I tweaked and made into reality.  Recipes? Yes.  As we had decided that for gifts from each other in our immediate household they had to be made or purchased from the GW Boutique or both, I was often on Pinterest for inspiration…..or looking for laughs to get me through all that stress of being crafty.

There was one project in particular that I especially enjoyed.  It was a clothespin Holy family ornament.  I am not sure what the original idea looked like, but I was pleased with the results.  I gave Mama one as part of her pre-Christmas goodies.  She loved it.  “I would love to give these to the ladies in my Circle,” she said, referring to the once a month gathering of ladies from her church.  Since they had already met in December, we decided that she could give them out at the July gathering–sort of a Christmas in July if you will.  I even had the perfect thing to put with it.  “Do you mind making them for me?” she asked.  “I’ll probably need 8 or 10.”

“No problem, I enjoy it,” I told her.

This has been in the back of mind and on my heart for a while now.  I spoke with one of the ladies from the Circle and found out that they had taken a break for summer but were starting back up this month, today in fact.  I knew it was time.  I asked if I could come for a few minutes and bring something Mama wanted them all to have.  The assurance that I was welcome was genuine and kind.

So last night I sat down with a pile of wooden pieces, my fancy cordless glue gun (I know how to maximize my 40% off Hobby Lobby coupons, y’all), and some paper clips.

"Whatcha making, Mama?" Cooter asked. "God and Jesus and His mama?"  Oh my.

“Whatcha making, Mama?” Cooter asked. “God and Jesus and His mama?” Oh my.

Very quickly it all came together.  Soon I had all them all ready.

20130917-222146.jpg

Mama wanted to share these with her dear friends from her Circle with a writing I found, interestingly enough, by watching Ally McBeal.  (Don’t judge.  I all but had my law degree by watching the whole series all the way through.)  One of the characters mentioned it in passing and it stuck with me.  Something about Christmas everyday.  We live in an amazing age, don’t you think?  The morning after I watched that episode, I Googled the line and very quickly found the original work.  It is called “Keeping Christmas” by Henry Van Dyke.  I was so moved by it, I shared it when I wrote about my Daddy and Granddaddy and the peppermints they shared with all the children when I was growing up.  This morning I printed out copies to give with the ornament to remind us all to keep Christmas.

And so it was that I sat with a group of sweet, dear ladies who made me feel nothing but welcome and loved, and they shared how much my Mama had meant to them.   We laughed over shared stories, and they loved seeing the pictures of Mama’s two newest grandbabies.  It was a sacred time, and I left them with my heart singing and my soul at peace.  I had taken care of something that was important to Mama.  That I knew it was something she had wanted to do and that I could make it happen–that was precious to me.

My parents were people who tried to live by the ideas presented in this selection.  They were human, after all, so they may not have had it down perfect, but they certainly kept trying.  That’s why it was such a pleasure to share this “work of art” by Mr. Van Dyke with my new friends.  It shouldn’t be just a way of life at Christmas but for all of our other days too.

So tonight my friends, I leave it with you.  I shared it last December, but it’s certainly worth being shared many, many times over.  May you too find it in your heart to keep Christmas everyday.  And may you be fortunate enough, like my Mama was, to find wonderful people around you to join you in this keeping of Christmas.

Keeping Christmas

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.  

Are you willing…

  • to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you;
  • to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world;
  • to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground;
  • to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;
  • to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life;
  • to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness.

 

Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

  • to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;
  • to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;
  • to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough;
  • to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;
  • to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you;
  • to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;
  • to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open—

Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

  • to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—
  • stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—
  • and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.

Six Days of the Week, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1924 and 1952.

May you be blessed along your travels--may there always be kind people who make you feel at home and may you find joy and laughter in everything you do.

May you be at peace along your travels–may there always be kind people who make you feel at home and may you find joy and laughter in everything you do.