06 November 2010

You Give and You Get

Warning: BusyMom said this should have a tear-jerker warning. Consider yourself warned.

It's a long story, but Catherine of Her Bad Mother asked us to make tutus and run in Central Park at BlogHer 10 as a benefit for her nephew, Tanner.

I was taken with this idea, but I was a bit baffled about how to transport a whole tutu across the country without mangling it, so I came up with a brilliant plan.

I would buy yards of tulle, cut them into strips, and offer people at BlogHer the chance to assemble their own tutus before the benefit race.

I bought tulle. A LOT of it. It was pretty and cheap and I got a little over-enthusiastic, as I tend to do, and I bought about 110 yards:
The little princess in tulle
The tulle was Goldie-approved

I realized that cutting 110 yards of tulle in a hotel room in the compressed timeframe of BlogHer wasn't going to happen, so I had to cut it at home. 110 yards into 4-inch wide strips...It was a big deal.

I decided to cut tulle at my folks' house on the kitchen table, since my only table is too small. And because my parents are lovely, lovely people, they decided to help me.

You mom bloggers know how it is when your kids "help" you make cookies? It was kind of like that.

My mom has bad arthritis and couldn't work for very long, so my dad stepped in. My 90% blind, not terribly steady dad. But dang it, there was work to be done and he was going to do it. He and I fumbled and twisted tulle and cut at funny angles and made mistakes, and there were times I felt like either screaming or running away.

But I took deep breaths and took his help in the spirit it was offered. We got that damned tulle cut into strips and we looked good doing it.

By the time I got to Central Park, I had two sprained ankles and couldn't run. I did have a walk down 6th Ave. to the park in gorgeous, Lakers-colored tutu, and many others at BlogHer got tutus made by volunteers who did tutu construction at the People's Party.
Caffeinatrix and me, bright and early. Really early


Three weeks later my dad was dead.

Making those "Tutus for Tanner" was the last father-daughter project we ever worked on, and it turns out I'm thankful for those goofy, crazy hours of frustration and screwed-up teamwork.

That's life, isn't it? You just decide to do things and do your best under the circumstances, and sometimes you get a gift you don't expect, a gift that you wouldn't trade all the gold in Fort Knox for. And then you go on to write sentences that end in prepositions, and life goes on.


Elan Morgan said...

Dammit. You just made me cry.

When you wrote about your father's death, I immediately remembered how he had helped you with the tutus, and I thought about how lucky you were to have that work to do with him then.

Life gives us gifts when we don't even know we're getting them.

Busy Mom said...

Uh, that needed a warning, dammit.

Magpie said...

Oh, I didn't know where that was going, and why you were rehashing BlogHer. Damn. I'm glad you found the gift in it.

Rachel said...

Tears are flowing.

I will never forget what your father did in his last weeks so I can't imagine what it feels like for you.

Unknown said...

What a lovely memory and excellent gift.

Bon said...

blinking back tears. i love the image of you and your dad at that table.

"there was work to be done." sounds like he raised you good.

One Crafty Mother said...

Oh, crying here too.

What a beautiful story, Suebob. Really made me stop in my tracks and remember to soak it all in.

Because you never know.

Hugs to you. Big time.


Sharon said...

I talked to my mom on a Tuesday night, my last words were I love you. On Thursday, in a different province, because we lived many miles apart, the police showed up at my door to tell me she was dead. I try not to think of the time I missed, but that our last words were that of love. Those moments you had with your dad were pure love. Embrace them, cherish them, and keep sharing them with the world like you did. You brought the love back to me in a very profound way.

Jessica said...

Considering I was warned, I'm still crying. Beautiful post, thank you for sharing, and for the reminder.

Jenn said...

So now I am crying AND wishing I had one of those tutus. Because we all need reminders that time is short and life is in the little things. Even the frustrating things.

I'm so thankful you have the gift of that project to hold onto. Wow. And I agree with BusyMom...total tearjerker. But an awesome one.

Kim said...

I needed a good cry about my daddy, and this did it. I'm so glad you got that time with him. XOXO

designHER Momma said...

wow, I don't even know where to start. I ran that day as well. It's the small moments that we will remember, and this seems to be a sweet one.

I'm so sorry for your loss. And I can just see your dad at that table, cutting fabric. Even though I never met him.

Peace, my friend.

Mama Bee said...

Oh wow ... thank you for posting, and thank you for the warning. Wonderful memory, and thank you for letting the rest of us have it too.

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

Tear-jerker, indeed.

You reminded me of playing bridge with my grandfather on a trip back to Ohio, one month before he died. I'm so glad I had that time with him, and I'm so glad you had that time with your dad.

Mom101 said...

Oh wow Suebob. Just wow.

The way you can express these things just blows me away.

Magpie's right - gift indeed.

Jennifer Villamere said...

I am amazed at your generosity of spirit - to undertake this project and then to share your tender tale. Absolutely amazing. The spirit of the project and your commitment to it are an inspiration to us all.

nonlineargirl said...

Catching up - that is great! You do something nice for someone by helping someone else, get help from your dad and then get a lovely memory in return. Sounds like a win.

flutter said...

Oh man, you just kicked my ass, Sue. You are a gift.

Kizz said...

Yeah, the warning is required. Awfully glad you got to do that work with your dad.

Ericka said...

beautifully told. i'm sorry you're hurting.

Mayberry said...


It can't have been easy to be so patient for so long.

flurrious said...

I cry a lot anyway, but did you have to sock me in the stomach too?

Redneck Mommy said...

I need to go call my daddy now.


What a gift. Thank you for sharing with us.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Wait, what? Your dad passed away? I haven't been paying attention. I am so, so very sorry. I remember the last few good conversations my mom and I had, and I miss them horribly. You are in my heart.

Nancy said...

I cried anyway, even with the warning.

What a beautiful post and a lovely memory.


Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

I read this on my phone, wanted to come back and comment.

I needed to let you know that was most useless warning in the entire history of Warnings.


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