I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, but just couldn't find the words...then it came to me the other morning, the perfect way to explain how I became suzy hausfrau. So, before I head off for a week's break I give you the story of me, my mum and suzy hausfrau.
I don't remember the exact date, but about this time five years ago I stood in my mother's craft room late one night. I was the only one awake, my brothers and father were asleep - and my mum was sleeping soundly too. I know this because I had just rung the hospital to check on her. Sound asleep, and moved from intensive care to the ward for the second time in a week.
The first time she was moved because she was on the road to full recovery and it was a time of celebration. This last time, it was because there was no hope of recovery and well let's be frank, it's taking up a much needed bed in that little hospital in a country town. I say this very matter of factly, with no bitterness...because you see apart from being suzy hausfrau I am also still a (very part time) practising health professional...a pharmacist, I've seen this stuff before.
So I stood in this room and eyed off her stash, searching for a ball of yarn and crochet hook. Mission accomplished I headed back to my spot on the couch to make something, anything. Now it had been probably twenty years since I had picked up a hook, and it showed. So, back to the room I went and stumbled across the Golden Hands book and with its help, and the memory of my mum's hands I crocheted a flower....then a granny square, and another.
I didn't realise until months later that I was connecting with her, in a way that is still so profound to me. I can see her, imagine her still every time I pull that yarn up from its place in my project bag. I can see her hands, always so beautifully manicured, as I work the yarn. You see, although I had that very long break from craft...some things taught in childhood will stick with you. The way you hold your hook, your yarn and how you sit down to sew on your machine.
The Christmas of that year I was at home with dad. A man still trying to adapt to life without his partner of nearly 60 years. You see, not long after the night when I searched for the yarn, my mother died. My father had moved to the bed in that very same craft room, still unable to sleep in the bed he shared with my mother. Now, five years later he is still sleeping 'out the back'. So that Christmas I asked what he was going to do with all of her craft things. As he pondered I asked him, much to my (and his) surprise if I could have them. So it is this way that the sewing machine, overlocker, hooks, needles, books, magazine cutouts and all of the unfinished and half-frogged projects made their way from Bundaberg to me here in Canberra. It is such a treasure trove, notes from classes that my mother took in tatting, calligraphy...plus those very precious Golden Hands folders.
It was an interesting start to be sure, me getting back on this crafty train. My first rusty attempts at sewing, the knitting was a total stop-start, love-hate affair...but there was always the crochet. I knew how to do it, and I could close my eyes and see my mother doing it - it came easily.
I found crafty mates, I joined Brown Owls, I immersed myself in the world of blogs and I read, and read and read. The passion for making became so strong. I constantly think to myself that my mother would be in total shock, and I hope awe, of how far I've come. That I sell yarn, that I create every day. That I sew, knit, crochet...make jam, bread. I know she would be proud, this yes I do know.
But I also wonder, and I say this with some trepidation, did this journey to creativity have to happen this way? That if my mother was still alive, would I still be suzy hausfrau? What would my life be like?
I'm grateful for this life, for the wonderful people I've met and for what I am learning every day, but I don't always like to dwell about the way it came about. I miss her, sharing this journey with her, and asking for her help. I do like to think that I would still have come to this point even if my mother was still here and we could have shared and learned some more from each other. Yes this, I think would have happened, no actually I know it.