Friday, February 18, 2011

Bright Spots

The last couple of weeks have been difficult.  My mother-in-law has been very ill.  It has been a sobering reminder of how quickly our health can be taken from us without our consent. However, a couple of unexpectedly positive things have occurred during this time that I want to share with you.

The first is that Adoptive Families Magazine has chosen "They're All My Own" in their first annual round up of Top Adoption Blogs to be featured in the magazine's upcoming  March/April issue.  I am honored and thankful to the magazine (which is a great adoption resource) and to everyone who reads my blog and encourages me to keep writing by leaving kind and thoughtful comments.

The second (and best) bright spot is that I had a visit from my beloved grandmother.  I wrote about her last year in the  post Remembering.  It is true that she died at the age of 90 and if she were living she would be 116.  Yet she did visit me in a very real way this week.  Gram was actually kind of famous in and around my hometown for the 'clothespin' dolls that she made.  They were beautiful, made completely by hand, each one unique. She put a tiny sticker on the hem of each doll's dress with her initials 'MEG'.  If Gram knew you and you were getting married she would have made you a bride doll.  If you were lucky enough to be her granddaughter, you might get one for a birthday or after getting your wisdom teeth out.  She also made them to sell at our church's annual holiday fair.  Most of my best friends had one from her and many of the women and girls of our church owned a doll or two.  I have a small collection carefully packed away.  I haven't thought about Gram's dolls in years.

After a particularly hard day this week, visiting my mother-in-law in the hospital and helping Kurt cope with making some difficult decisions regarding her care, I came home feeling very blue.  There was a package at my door.  The return address showed it was from one of the dearest friends of my childhood, Lori.  Lori and I are a lot alike.  We grew up in the same small town.  Attended the same small church.  Had amazing, warm and caring parents. Our families were close friends. We were both adopted as infants and raised in families with both adopted and biological siblings.

I had no idea what she might be sending me.  I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that the package was filled with clothespin dolls, just like the kind my grandmother made.  She must have found them at a craft show and thought of me.  I was so touched.  As I closely examined one of the dolls, I flipped up the hem and saw the 'MEG' sticker.  They were Gram's dolls!  I bawled.  I was so sad when I arrived home that day.  Suddenly, I felt as though I was wrapped in my precious grandmothers arms.  I could almost smell her lilac perfume and feel her small hands that she kept soft with Vaseline Intensive Care lotion.

As soon as the tears stopped flowing, I read Lori's letter.  She explained that another girl we grew up with (of course we are all women in our forties now) had a collection of the dolls from her childhood.  She had donated them to the most recent church Christmas fair.  Lori recognized them, did a little research with the church old timers (forgive me Mrs. Damon) realized they were Gram's dolls and bought every single one and sent them to me.

Lori couldn't have surprised me more or had better timing.  The comfort of an old friend and a beloved grandmother's handiwork made a sad day much brighter.


  1. What a wonderful sign that your grandmother is watching over you and trying to comfort you in your time of need. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and Kurt. {{hugs}}

    And, of course, congratulations on your blog being featured in Adoptive Families Magazine. I will be sure to look for it!

    Karen McCormack

  2. Alison- I am so glad that these very precious dolls came at a time when you needed a hug from Gram. I am so happy they brightened your day. I knew they would. They brought back many fond memories when I came across them. Congratulations on your writing success. There are many people in this world who can write but not many who have an amazing heart that comes out in their writing! You have that!

  3. Alison, you have such a gift .... you can so articulately share a feeling, an experience, a moment. I truly feel you have so much to share with the world with your words. This is only the beginning for you and your journey.

    You have been blessed with a beautiful family and it's wonderful that you choose to share it with all of us ... thank you.

    I hope that all is well with Kurt's Mom.

    Lynda Rodgers Pesavento

  4. I am balling....that is an awesome story and I am so thankful that you share these w/ us. You deserve every bit of space you get in that magazine!!!

    Prayers for you mother in law xo
    Jen Bellemare

  5. I saw that 'MEG" sticker and got chills and tears welled up.

    PS- you have more 'anonymous' commenters than anyone I know!

  6. Wow... another very, very special blog...thinking of you all...
    love you lots, Carole

  7. Kismet...! What a wonderful story (as always!). And I'm not at all surprised about being included in the magazine's blog picks... you're brilliant! Brenda B.

  8. Thank you all. Your comments and kind words warm my heart. xxoo

  9. What a beautiful story Allison. So glad you could feel the hug from your Grandmother! Sometimes all we need to do is open our eyes to the simple miracles all around us. Congratulations for your recognition with Adoptive Family Magazine - they have found a jewel! - Pam Santos

  10. Alison...I often feel Mimi's presence. I am sitting at my computer and looking at two of her sweet dolls. I have them on top of my filing cabinet so I see them everyday. My Christmas tree has four red and green dolls adorning it every year. This year I explained to my oldest grandson, Ben (5 1/2) about Mimi's dolls. I loved the wide eye expression on his face. We are so lucky to have had her in our lives. Thanks for the loving memory of her. My prayers and with you and Kurt. Love, Marcia (cousin)

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