I’ve been called an overachiever many times in my life. Usually when I go to great lengths to do something crafty or make homemade goodies for my kids’ activities. This week, I remembered not only do I come by it naturally, but I’m proud to do it, too.
When I was a kid, most of our stuff was homemade. Homemade lunches – which I thought were so much better than the school ones; homemade clothes – which I liked better because I got exactly what I wanted; homemade goodies for class parties – which everyone liked!
When it comes right down to it, I find that I value more the things that I know someone took time to do themselves. I’m not saying I don’t buy a whole lot of store-bought stuff. But since my family (like so many others) can’t have certain kinds of foods, or at least the crud they put into so many foods, I prefer to make stuff myself. And they are more fun to make and eat, in most cases. (Now if only someone else would do the dishes…)
I have these very vivid memories of the things that my mother made for me when I was a kid for class parties and birthdays. The cupcakes she surprised me with in seventh grade. The Holly Hobbie birthday cake. The double-decker fudge that we gave to my sixth grade teacher for a Christmas present (best present ever, really). And the heart-shaped cookies personalized for each student in my class for Valentine’s Day.
That’s what I was reminded of this week. My mother was visiting my house over the weekend, and left on Valentine’s Day. That meant that she was part of the crazy valentines that we made – gnome heads made of Hershey kisses and felt, with googly eyes – and helped my boys make heart sugar cookies. They squished them into cookie sandwiches (“the best kind, mom!”), and I methodically wrote out each student’s name onto the top of each one, teachers included.
I reminisced about when she used to make those for my classrooms, even as I grouched over the long names and spacing things correctly. She laughed at me, and reminded me that often she did those kinds of homemade things because we couldn’t afford something fancier. I immediately gushed back how I wouldn’t have wanted the “fancier” things. Because I didn’t want them. Still don’t. I loved the homemade so much that I choose to do them now.
Not because I have to, but because it’s something fun that my children will remember, just like I remember doing them with my mum. Because of the giggles and oohs and aahs of the other kids in the classroom. Even because of being called an overachiever (again). Because I know where I get it – from the heart of a woman I am privileged to call my mother. Who did her best by her kids even when times where tough and money was tight.
So I’m proud to be an overachiever, to spend a little bit of my time doing something fun, and a little silly, with and for my boys, to show them the same thing my mother did, once upon a time…