I made this wreath for my mother for Christmas. It had long been planned; she kept telling me that she wanted me to make her one. Of course, she expected to pay me for it. That was never an option in my book. I wanted it to be a gift. For Christmas.
My mother is 90 years old. In fact, her 91st birthday is just next week, on January 21st. I am lucky beyond belief that she still continues to grace my life.
But as so often happens, plans laid are not always plans made.
Because of an incredibly challenging schedule last fall, it was not until the week before Christmas that I was able to turn my attention towards gifts for my family and friends. As it worked out, December 20th was the day I had set aside to begin making Mom’s wreath. I was under some pressure because my plan was to finish up with all my holiday preparations so I would be ready to make the trip home on the 23rd for Christmas.
Early on the morning of the 20th, I was awakened by a call from my sister. My mother was being transported to the hospital; my sister suspected that Mom had had a stroke. I live about 175 miles from home and it is very, very difficult to be that far away when something like this happens and you are more or less in the dark, dependent on information relayed via telephone when there is any available. I spent many anxious hours wondering what was going on.
Eventually, the word came down that she had, in fact, suffered a stroke but the news was pretty good. It was deemed a mild one and she was expected to spend a few days in the hospital and then probably be released to a rehab facility before coming home. She had some issues with her speech and a weakness on her right side. Her right hand was pretty floppy and she was unable to stand up. The doctors felt, though, that with therapy, she would likely fully recover. My sister convinced me that there was not an urgent need for me to come home immediately.
So I set about making her wreath. Until that day, I had only a hazy idea of what to make for her. But suddenly it was all quite clear.
She needed angels to watch over her. Of course.
I began as I always do, by pulling out a few pieces from the collection which will set the tone for the wreath. I wanted something very special, that would bring her not only delight, but comfort, too.
I went to my “Angels” box, and pulled out this little charmer. I had been saving her; not quite sure I would have the heart to part with her anyway. Knowing it was for my Mom made it a no-brainer. She’s chalkware and is imprinted with a mark from the US Zone in Germany. This dates it right back to after WWII. I love how she is praying so earnestly with her little baby hands. I mounted her on a light reflector with a little tinsel underneath her to really showcase her.
This is a view of the top. There are lots of things that I purposefully included just for my mother. That purple and gold ball on the left is to remind her of my Dad – he went to Williams College and those are the college colors. I love the pink ball to the right of the angel – it will make her think of the church bells ringing. And to celebrate Christmas we have the little bottlebrush tree as well as that wonderful “Merry Christmas” ball. The ornament with the crown signifies that she is the Queen – at least as far as I am concerned!
Here is a view of the bottom half of the wreath. Do you see the most important piece of all? There is Mary with Baby Jesus cradled in her arms. She is very old and I have been saving her for quite a while. Never mind that her paint is not perfect or that the Baby looks almost like he has a black eye. Those things add to their preciousness if you ask me.
Perhaps you noticed that the overall color scheme is pastel pink and green, which is Mom’s favorite color combination. They were her college colors, too.
That is an old corsage nestled next to the Madonna. I thought it might make Mom remember some happy times.
I finally was able to give her the wreath after Christmas, once she was settled in the rehab facility. She absolutely loves it. We hung it on the wall opposite her bed so it will greet her when she wakes up in the morning and will send her off to sleep at night.
Her recovery has proven to be more challenging than originally thought. I guess when you are 90 years old, things don’t happen too quickly. She is a trooper and is trying her best but it is going slowly, way too slowly for her. All she wants to do is go home. And that’s what we want, too.