What started off as a bonding time between Paisley and I quickly turned into something much more meaningful...
My mom taught me how to stitch when I was around her age, and remembering the moments of learning from her and making things together, I thought it would be fun to bring up as something that we can do together. When I mentioned this idea to Pais in the last few months, as a new kind of project to do around the house on some free time, she ended up loving it more than I thought she would.
We started off simple. She has a purple hoop with a simple flower and a sun with her name signed at the bottom and her age. This was her first one she’s ever worked on, it still isn't finished and it’s the one that will always mean the most when we dig it out of her keepsake bin when she’s older. Yes, believe it or not, she’s still working on it as she has said, ‘I want to put it down to relax my brain for a little bit’ and then will pick it back up to work on a little more here and there. I was very proud to see how well she was doing and to see how much she was truly enjoying something and sticking to it.
Now, I don’t know how long this will last, I mean, she is 8 now. But I’m holding onto these days tightly for now. But here is our story.
Yesterday, we went to the grocery store. They had three ambulances outside and as we were pulling in, our stomachs sank, thinking someone was hurt. As we parked and walked toward the entrance, we saw that the ambulance right by the door was filled with everything from cleaning supplies to canned goods. While holding my hand and stopping dead in her tracks, she looked up at me with her innocence and said, “Huh? I don’t get it. No one is hurt? Why are there just a bunch of boxes in there? And why would they even make three ambulances come?” A lady walked up to us, handed us a paper with a long list of items and said, “Good morning! We are collecting for donations. Have a good day!” We shared a smile, I told her ‘Thank you so much,’ and we kept walking inside. It happened so quick. Paisley looked at the list and looked at me and said, “I don’t get it. Who was that? What just happened?” (haha)
Now, Paisley has always been one to help and has always been one to give. Always. She’s always been one to ask questions and has always been able to use those answers to help the next person or get through the next situation. She also offers to use her own piggy bank money (all the time) to help buy dinner or other things we are doing together. "I don't know how much I have in there but you can use all of it if you need to, Dad." This is a very common phrase we hear. I knew this was going to be a special moment for her to learn a new lesson and always be able to use in the future, especially focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
As we went in and got the few things we needed, I told her she could choose whatever couple of things she wanted off of the list to donate to others. I explained how "...some people don't have what we do, or even close to it. Some people have nothing at all. Donations help those people in need..." She got it right away. I was patiently waiting for her load of questions to come, but she stayed silent. She picked out paper towels and bread. But wanted two bags of bread, "...because it will be able to help more people." I smiled. "You're right my girl, we will do that." My heart cried.
We walked up to the register and the cashier was just making small talk with me and I asked to put the paper towels and the bread in a separate bag. "Oh, great! Are they for the donations?" She looked at Paisley. Paisley is very shy, but quietly she said back, "Yes, we are giving them to someone special, someone who needs them." The small talk quickly turned into the cashier reminding us (but mostly looking at Paisley, because unfortunately we are raising our sweet babies in this crazy world) that there is so much more good in this world than there is bad. 'Just remember that, sweet girl.' She smiled.
Right as we were walking outside, there was a woman collecting all of the bags at the door. She would take them all out to the ambulance when her cart was filled up so she didn't have to keep walking out after each person. "Thank you so much for donating, I can take those for you." Paisley looked at her and then looked at me and said, "Can I please take it out there myself?"
"Of course you can! There is a man in the truck that will take it for you."
Her heart was so full, so understanding and so completely open to keep giving more.
When we got home we talked more about how that moment had made her feel and then I asked her how she thought she could make a difference for someone and give this season?
"I have an idea! We can sell my stitches pictures and donate!"
"Hmm, okay. What are you going to donate?"
"Whatever people want to pay I will use the money to go and buy hats and gloves for kids who don't have any, so they can be warm this year!"
Heart. Melted. Sobbing.
We did a couple more practice stitches with the supplies we had leftover at home, working on the length of them, not making them too big or too small, where to poke, when to stop... we practiced. She caught on quickly and all she could keep talking about was how excited she was. So, off to the store we went.
She picked out all the Christmas colors she needed and we bought out the hoops in both sizes. She checked out all by herself and was ready to go.
When we got home, we snuggled up to watch Christmas movies and we put our ideas together and came up with some designs. I helped her tie the knots in the back, thread only a few times through the needle, as she has learned how to and has done ALL but maybe a few stitches on each piece that she asked me to help her with. I'm so proud of her, and guys, these are SO freaking cute. There will only be a certain number available for Christmas, as her tiny hands can only work so hard, but I'm impressed on how many she whipped up in only TWO days. Here are some of them.
I helped her on the leaves with this one, she did the rest. She was also proud to share with you her writing in CURSIVE.
They are not perfect, but they are perfectly made and a lot of hard work has been put in.
These below are her "Beaded Tree Collection." They are her favorite to make.
We've decided to make them open to donations instead of putting a price on them, as some people can't afford to pay any certain amount necessarily. This isn't for everyone and not everyone would want something like this in their home, we get that and she understands. But it is something she enjoys doing. The thought of knowing where your money is going rather than just donating is kind of heart warming as well. After the trip to the store and that experience, she is more than excited to make a difference. She wants to physically pick out hats and gloves herself instead of just handing the money over to someone and you guys will all be along for the journey to see her gift of giving go full circle! We can't wait! Now, as parents, we've secretly already donated to make her feel special and can't wait to see the excitement on her face when she sees that when you put your heart into something, it will pay off and it will make a difference. I will be having her make me more of them so that we can keep in our own home and pass out to family members for Christmas, ha! I can't get enough.
This sweet girl stayed up so so late one night over the weekend to work on these and got to take a peek into what it takes to be a business owner. Your time is valuable and it's hard work to be successful. The next day we went to the store to purchase some more things for her gifts and we stopped to get a coffee and a cocoa on the way. The person in front of us put $5 toward our order, and yet again, she saw the gift of giving keeps on going. She said, "What! That was so nice! And look what we are going to do now, this is so fun! We are doing the right thing."
She's been the hardest worker and is more excited that I can explain.
So here we are, with a small idea from a little girl that has turned into something so great, out of not only something she enjoys, but even greater for some other children. You guys, she wanted to go door to door selling these. I told her doing it online would be faster, but bless her heart. And I know you're asking (haha) no, she doesn't have an Etsy shop just yet, but I don't doubt that that will be on her to-do list soon! ;) As of right now, we are just enjoying this time that we get to spend together and seeing the amount of happiness that can come out of the thought of giving.
Thank you, truly, so much as a parent, for taking the time to read her story! And to all of those family members or friends of ours who donate anything you can, you're the biggest supporter to just a little girl with a big dream. She will know of each and every one of you that are able to help her! We hope you have a wonderful Holiday season and enjoy remembering and reminding others, what the season is truly all about. Giving.