I’ve recently started the very slow process of sorting through our family photos. I’m quite determined to succeed and proudly sped through a few hours of sorting without getting distracted (which is a miracle).
One photo caught my eye though and I snapped a pic on my phone before throwing it in the “kids together” pile. It’s a little shot of my sister and I grinning ear to ear in matching little outfits. I love it because it’s a great image of our cheeky sisterly love but I love it more because it tells a story I’m proud of.
When I was small my family didn’t have much. My parents scrimped for everything they had and worked hard to keep us clothed and fed depsite the odds. My childhood was sunny, fun and happy. I don’t remember being ‘poor’ and I don’t remember going without. To me, we had the world. We had wonderful big trees and bugs galore under every rock outlining our front garden. Us kids had a whole house of our own that we imagined into existence under the tree boughs along the backyard fence. And to top it all off we got to smell the incredible scent of mown grass in the summer evenings and release the heady aroma of lemon as we ceuahed lemon-scented tea tree leaves in our little palms.
My mum made a lot of clothes for us out of love and necessity in equal measures. In the photo below we are wearing gorgeous little overalls made by my mother’s hands.
Sitting on my mum’s living room floor sorting, I turn the photo towards my mum and smile saying “oh aren’t we cute?!” She says proudly “I made those overalls! They’re made from a pink pillow case and a scrap of material. Someone said to me ‘oh that won’t work to mix those fabrics’ but I made them anyway and they lasted ages. You got so much wear out of them!”
I loved how proud she was of that. And I felt proud too. I am lucky enough to call that resilient, resourceful person my mum. I am also lucky enough to have worn such beautiful clothes while I played imaginary houses and made mud pies. I hope my daughter can look back on her childhood with pride and see that I did everything I could to provide for her in the ways she needed.
It’s a really beautiful feeling!