It's fair to say that this is the thought I went to bed with that day. "My God, I finally hugged her!". Such a long-held dream.
You see, the wee person above this text has been a friend of mine for such a long time. She has been with me through a few moves, issues, nightmares and many dolls have been made in between. Some of those dolls have ended in her hands, while others have just passed through her home. The one she is holding only took me two years to finish. She is a patient gal.
Meeting people online, getting to know them and experiencing kinship while never holding hands, is a relatively new thing, especially for me. Through what I do I have had the grace of connecting with so many kind-hearted, giving, wonderful people, and I am blessed the more for it. They contribute to my life on a daily basis with photos of their children, questions that keep them awake at night, celebrations and trials as well. We take the good, the bad and the ugly. It's not all dolls, all the time (although we do wish for that, especially me).
She told me she is a pro at this nowadays, meeting her tribe this way. Connecting with like-minded mothers interested in meditation, knitting or whatever the wind is blowing her way. She even confessed the whole thing started with cloth-diapering, and I had to chuckle knowing that so many of my early clients started both their online friendships and doll collecting through diapering communities. Isn't this such a marvellous world? it is full of surprises, at every corner.
There is of course always the trepidation, the nerves, not just of meeting someone who you've already opened so much of yourself with…but of handling her this little piece of your heart turned into cloth and wool. What would she say? Would she love him? She must! I insist!.
As my husband drove us towards the meeting place, he kept joking that we were going to get "catfished" (he is hilarious…not) but apparently the thought crossed the minds of the other two as well. They were actually conspiring of asking a random person on the street to impersonate them. I mean, in this day and age of Facebook, several years in, I knew who I was meeting: the cheesiest, most adorable little dolly mama I had ever met. And it was brilliant, and so pleasant (and so hot that day, even my shoes melted!) and such a good experience I am left here thinking that I really ought to go more out into the real world. Meet other people. Hug other people. Hand-deliver dolls all over the place. Get to personally know this community of people who love my dolls and all dolls in general.
Now, I don't have any actual plans on how to do that, but the seed has been planted. And I will give it time to germinate, to develop little leaves and start growing. Like everything else in my life, things need time and care, a lot of space to come to fruition. But I can tell you that this little seed is already stirring things within me. I shall keep you posted.
Now, I don't have many photos of me. Not even of me and my own children, let alone photos of myself holding my dolls. There are a few, of course, but the little seed has also prompted the question of putting my hands and face a little more out there. I have always thought that this whole thing (dollmaking) is not about me, it's about the dolls and their lives. Of course this is a little simple thinking, as I make the dolls and they are completely inspired by my own children and the mother I try to be for them. So perhaps I will start sharing a little bit more about us as well. All little ideas and thoughts to consider. Not making any promises though.
In the end, a little wool boy went home in the arms of his mother. He met a human boy. They will become good friends as long as there are plenty of legos around and Mom shares. I think this story still has many chapters in it and we can all sit back and imagine the ending. Will Mom one day let her grandchildren play with her dolls? Will she tell them stories about the crazy lady who made them? Will I still be around making dolls? who knows. If anything, this big big world is full of surprises. I might get to live until I am 170 years old.
One thing I do know for sure: these dolls have allowed me to trust myself, to feel creative and productive at a time when my little girls turned the house upside down every three minutes and there was no end to the laundry, to regain the trust that I was worthy to create, to start telling my stories again without fear of being looked at in a funny way, to heal from deep childhood wounds, they have softened my heart and made me a better mother, they have granted me so many, so many friendships, they have supported my family, they keep making me fall in love every time. I couldn't ask for anything more. Except to meet more people like Sam. And I already have a couple lined up. To be continued.