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If your house is anything like mine, you may have a few things that are treasured simply because of who made them for you. I’m realizing now what creative parents I had while growing up.

Dad made dressers and cabinets; he re-upholstered some furniture; he refinished antique trunks, and he carved all kinds of woodcarvings from a tiny delicate dolphin to chip carvings, a relief carving of “Mr. Toot,” intricate angels, all sizes of Santas and snowmen and even Tiki gods. Mom made braided rugs, ceramics, stained glass windows, crewel and embroidered pictures and tons of scrapbooks.

Now that Dad is gone, his masterpieces mean even more to me. I’m sure I will feel the same about Mom’s creations someday as well.

I wonder just what my boys will think of some of the things I’ve created over the years. They make fun of my love of words now, pointing out that our house looks like “a middle-aged woman lives here” because of all of the words, quotes and sayings I have strewn about. Of course, they’re right about that … since I AM a middle-aged woman now … but they’ve been teasing me about this for decades.

One piece of “collage art” I have made is displayed over our back door and simply says, “Inspire” in torn pieces of aqua paper. I bet after I’m gone, my boys may even begin to see the beauty in it.

I made things for Nic and Noah even before they entered the world. Since I was on bedrest with both pregnancies, I had time to crochet a baby blanket for each of them … which actually turned out to be almost man-sized blankets because I didn’t know when to quit. Of course, when the boys were very young, they used the blankets. Now they’re tucked away in a closet somewhere.

Another time I remember making blankets for both boys was when I was scheduled to go on a business trip to San Francisco. I had such a terrible feeling that something might happen to me, and I wanted to make one more thing that both sons could have to remember me … just in case.

I had the bright idea that they might need different blankets … ones more suited to their ages at the time … so instead of spending time working and packing and preparing for my trip, I tied together a race car-themed blanket and a sports-themed blanket. I know these fleece blankets still exist, a little faded and worse for the wear, but they were well-loved, and there’s nothing like making something for someone who enjoys your creation!

Other than my handmade blankets and collage art, so many other unfinished things remain. I can just see my boys fighting over a piece of long crocheted yarn that I worked on while I was onstage in “Leaving Iowa” at the community theatre. I can see them wanting the almost-finished red fluffy scarf for one of their wives someday. I can see them bartering over a plethora of half-written children’s stories that I used to tell them and later decided to write down for posterity.

No, I’m not that crazy. My bits and pieces will be tossed away, never lucky enough to be a finished work of art that is treasured from generation to generation.

This makes me yearn to finish those unfinished treasures. If finished, maybe I would wear that awesome red scarf for Valentine’s Day … or give it away for a great Valentine’s gift. Maybe I’d put all of my complete children’s stories into a book and publish it. Maybe my boys would treasure more of my creations someday if they were finished.

I’ll always remember starting my projects. Planning the creative endeavor and buying the materials sometimes BECAME the beginning and the end of the project. I have enough beads to create necklaces for the known universe, scrapbooking supplies to commemorate every second of the lives of both sons, and enough yarn to knit into several giant-sized blankets.

I remember learning how to knit and crochet, sitting on my grandma’s lap. I was really quite a fast learner, and I have some almost-finished things to prove it. If I could only remember how to end the projects she taught me to begin, well, let’s just say I could probably have a booth in any craft fair in the tri-state area.

What will I be able to teach my future grandchildren to create? Blankets and words. Not the most exciting of prospects, but definitely cuddly and conversational.

Perhaps this is why we create. We may like the feeling we get while we are in the midst of a project, but ultimately, we yearn to be remembered every time someone looks at one of our creations.

Perhaps my great-great-grandchildren will someday look at my collage art and share stories about how Great-Great-Grandma Michelle loved to INSPIRE above all else. If that is how I am remembered, perhaps I have “finished” enough after all.

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Michelle Sprout Murray is a freelance writer who lives in Mason City with her family. She may be reached at queenmom@mchsi.com.

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