Saturday, December 18, 2010

The work of their hands

by June
Elves are busy here. Our daughters enter into the merrymaking with verve, and that's a very good thing. They have taken over most of the cookie baking (and the washing up). They untangle the lights and feed them up to me as I circle the tree on the stepladder. They wrap packages, pack them into boxes, and weigh the boxes for shipping. They sew gifts for one another.

I cherish watching them work. Their hands are beautiful in this mother's eyes. Their fingers are graceful and careful. I remember when those fingers first gripped a fat crayon; now they can maneuver through delicate stitches. It is this season that provides important markers of their passage through childhood. Each year they manage more on their own.

Homeschooling is especially dear to me in these crazy-busy weeks, not just because it gives us the flexibility to stop the crazy-busy and go sing-along with "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" at Longfellow's home church. The tree is twinkling as we do math, and I get to hear their first impressions of Truman Capote's exquisite prose as each of them wraps up her first read of A Christmas Memory.

Fern's gift for mama last year
Blossom's gift for mama last year

 This is the season when I feel how far they've come in the last year. We take the official, state-required measure of their progress each spring, but it's when the girls are planning and executing their Christmas surprises that the progress makes itself felt.

Fern's surprise from Blossom, Christmas 2009: Doozie the Hen
They are growing up, our Blossom and Fern. But on Christmas morning they still have the giddy delight of the littlest children. It is delight not only in receiving but especially in giving what they have made with their own hands. I love to watch their hands do the work, but, on Christmas morning, it's their faces I watch. Oh, the joy.

Blossom loves Pickles the Polar Bear, made by Fern
Christmas 2009; hat also by Fern


Catherine said...

I love that last photo and the photos of their hands. They are radiating love and joy! Have a wonderful holiday!

I also cherish homeschooling even more (as if this is possible!) at this time of year!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Love that last photo. Just love it. The girls are so talented. I know you are so proud.

Like you I cherish watching my children growing up. I'm savoring every minute.

Warmest wishes and love to you all.

Kelli said...

Precious memories. I'm making sugar cookies today with my nephews and we're going to decorate them with icing sugar and sweets/candies. Delicious.

sarah in the woods said...

Wow - talented little girls! Love those happy faces!

betsy said...

Your girls are such a delight. You and Birch too. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. xoxo

anna said...

I am a new reader of your blog and what a lovely time to discover it and see your daughters' beautiful work. I love that they make these beautiful gifts for each other! Thank you for such a lovely post.

JGH said...

What a beautiful post -- I feel the Christmas memories being made at your house. BTW, I read Capote story for the first time this week and was completely blown away. What a wonderful thing to share with your girls! Hope your days continue to be merry and bright xox

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

They make my heart smile every time I see them - yous must be bursting at the seams all.the.time. !! :-)

Merry Christmas to you and all of your darling family and the chicks and the goats and and and and .. and

Happy Happy New Year!

Missouri Gal said...

Very heart warming! I wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas! Nicole

Nan said...

A truly wonderful life you live! And the expressions on the girls' faces show you made the right choice to homeschool. Oh, Longfellow's church. I ache to have been there.

J.G. said...

The perfect combination of carefulness and enthusiasm . . . lovely.

Hope your holidays are wonderful in every way!

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