I often refer to my mom as the original Martha Stewart. When she does something, she does it well... more like perfectly. In kindergarden and first grade I was decked out in intricate dresses that she had sewn together from McCall's and Butterick patterns. I grew up eating three homemade meals a day that were accompanied by handmade cloth napkins and individual butter molds in shapes of sea shells and such. For holidays she would always bring something in for my class. For instance, on Christmas she would arrive with a popcorn and marshmallow Christmas tree decorated with healthy snacks. At home she would always add a touch of creativity, like making our mashed potatoes and milk green for St. Patrick's Day. Basically, I grew up in a world of Pinterest... literally.
Right before my freshman year of high school my family moved to the Chicago area... Orland Park, IL to be exact. It was a transformative time for everyone, including my mom. She decided to go back to school, starting at Morraine Valley Community College where she worked in the academic advising office. She moved on to Purdue University where she received a B.A. in Clinical Psychology and was inducted as a member of Alpha Chi National College Scholarship Society. After college my mom spent many years in the mental health field where her hard work, strong ethic and compassion left an unforgettable impression on the hearts of those she worked with. Once she started working outside of the home... all of the intricacies that once went into every meal, load of laundry, dust bunny in the corner yadah yadah yadah... went out the window. As she likes to say, something had to give.
And now what seemed like two separate career paths... domestic goddess and mental health professional...have come together into her creation of iRememberUbears. These are custom-made teddy bears made out of cherished articles of clothing. My mom knows that every article of clothing she receives has a special meaning to someone (sometimes it is the only personal article that remains)... and she does not take that responsibility lightly. It is amazing to see how these bears, who become tangible stories, take on a personality of their own. Below are a few examples of how these bears bring comfort to others.
A few years ago my parent's attended a benefit for a coworker's 6-year-old daughter that was battling cancer. They bought a t-shirt to support the fundraising efforts and mom decided to make the t-shirt into a bear and gave it to the family as a gift. The little girl loved that bear so much that when she passed away the family decided to send the bear to heaven with her. The following Christmas, the family sent out their Christmas card that included a picture of the bear and the story of its significance to their family. As time passed they missed seeing the bear and sent more Live Well t-shirts to Mom to have an identical bear made. In addition they sent her bathrobe that had become a main staple during her illness, to have another bear made. This past Christmas she received another Christmas card with a picture of the children (and the bear). It really touched my mom to see that the bear was again part of their Christmas card and to know it continued to bring the family comfort.
When Scott and I were dating I made him a Hawaiian quilt. After several years it was starting to show some wear and tear, so my mom made a bear of it for our son Morgan on his first birthday.