As a kid, growing up in Philadelphia, spring and summer meant Phillies baseball. Admittedly, I’m not a huge baseball fan but my father was. Not a weekend went by when you didn’t hear Harry Kalas voice broadcasting the play-by-play of the game on the radio, my dad listening while he worked on one of his many woodworking projects out in the garage. (If only Etsy had been around back then!)
One year my parents took my brother and I to a game and boy what a fun day that was. Sitting in the stands, listening to the cheers, watching the players I had seen on TV hitting balls and running bases, the Philly Phanatic scaring the daylights out of me and delighting my brother. (Have I mentioned I have a tremendous fear of mascots??)
After the game, decked out in our Phillies hats and shirts, we all went out to dinner and I remember feeling like there could never be a better day than that one. I was in third grade… everything was perfect and it could never get any better than that. We have so many wonderful pictures from that day but two in particular that I love; one of me and my dad (see below) and the other of my brother and my mom.
Just before my father passed away, I came across the pictures as I was sorting through some old family albums. Even at 32, seeing those pictures, I recalled every minute of that day as if it had just happened. Right away, I knew I needed to do something special with them and decided to create handmade picture ornaments for my parent’s tree.
Christmas that year was bittersweet. It was time with the family, so it was wonderful, but at the same time, we knew that it could be my father’s last Christmas (and it was). My mom had decorated to the hilt like always. My dad and I made Christmas cookies together that year, something we had never done before. We had a wonderful family dinner and, despite the “cancer monster” looming in the background, it was a Christmas I will never forget.
When I gave my parents the ornaments, one with “Dad and me” and the other with “Mom and me” painted on them, my father choked up. As a kid I used to make presents for my parents all the time; misshapen bowls, cracked “sculptures” of unrecognizable animals, you name it, but I had certainly never brought tears to my dad’s eyes. He recalled the day: the game, the dinner, everything. It was like the four of us were transported back to that perfect day when nothing could go wrong.
My dad has been gone for a little over five years now but those ornaments go up on the tree every year. Now, every time I look at them, I recall not only how much fun we had at the game but also the look on my dad’s face when he held my simple, handmade gift and for a short time got to forget the cancer and remember a time that was nothing short of perfect.
Check out the wonderful video that Etsy posted on their site today and please feel free to pass it along. When making your holiday list this year, please consider handmade. Even when it’s handmade by someone else, their love and their own stories go in to every single piece. When you buy handmade, you buy love. Please feel free to share your own handmade story as well!
Dad and me (age 7)