So, this isn’t your typical family photo, but bear with me while I tell you the story behind it.    As a child, I had a few loves…..horses, drawing horses, and reading about horses.  I have a collection of  Breyer horses that I saved, and my girls have been asking me to get my collection out and show them.  Tonight, I did, and I talked about them all, and told them their names….etc. and all the ways I played with them, stringing yarn all over the house to make pastures ……begging my mother to let me leave it all up cause “I’m gonna play with it tomorrow….”          I know…..I know…..I’m getting to the family photo story.   So anyway, after I was done telling my girls all my horse stories, I told them I had one more thing to show them.    And I brought out this box, full of these dolls.   Now here’s the story……

It was Christmastime, I think I was twelve…….and my parents had no money.  None.  And being a parent myself I know how heartbreaking it would be to try and give your children a nice Christmas but  thinking it isn’t possible to do.     Unless………you are my parents.   This particular year, my mother sewed my sister and I each a set of dolls, stitched all the furniture, and the wooden pieces were made by my father.   Every night after we were in bed, she sewed and sewed, from scraps of  fabric she had saved.   Embroidered those doll faces on……..wrapped embroidery floss around toothpicks to make wringlets on the girls………stitched a wardrobe of dresses for the Grandma, Mom and girl doll, and pants outfits for the men in the family.  I personally think my daddy doll is good looking….reminds me a little of Rhett Butler!   There were four bedrooms sets, a living room set, dining room set, grandfather clock and piano…..and each room set was wrapped in it’s own box, and the dolls and clothes were wrapped separately.  Imagine how many presents there were for my sister and I to open.   We were in awe.

Next to us, my brothers opened jeeps, and tanks and machine guns, all made from wood by my father…..which he did every night while my mother was sewing.  My youngest brothers had train sets…..all made by my father.      And for my mother that year, my father made a rolling pin, made on a lathe out of  big piece of black walnut.

So tonight, my girls said to me, “I would give up all my barbies to have a set of dolls like this”.    And I laughed and said, “You know, after Gabrielle and I got these, we rarely played with barbies again”.

But my daughter is right…… of the material things that are precious to me…..these are my number one.  Because every time I see them I remember how much my parents love me.     And if you ask any of my siblings, I am pretty sure they will tell  you same thing…..that was one of the most amazing Christmases ……. ever.

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