August 12, 2013: Playing House

Holding my goddaughter, Jennifer, with my doll gift (1981)
The winter of 1980 was a fun year for me. I was thirteen with wide-eyed anticipation of being a grown woman. Although that particular winter was bitterly cold and long to most; to me it was a glorious opportunity to play house, with real babies.

My Aunt Barb and Uncle Tom lived in Sioux City. Their city was a forty-five minute drive from my hometown. The distance was enough that I was only able to play with their young daughters on an infrequent basis. As a thirteen year-old who loved babies and saw motherhood in my future, I enjoyed spending time with my tiny cousins.

1980 was a year that Barb and Tom were building a new house. My grandparents also choose well by choosing to winter in Arizona and not in Iowa that winter. With their house empty and my aunt and uncle's need to have temporary quarters, a plan was hatched.

They lived in my grandparents house for the winter with their baby, Jennifer, and two-year-old, Jana. I trudged through the snow for the five block walk up Harrison Street to play with my cute cousins whenever given the opportunity.

I babysat for them through my Christmas break and any other time I had available. It was playing house with real babies. And all in the comfort of my Grandma's house. I took my job even more seriously since it within the zone of Grandma's sacred space. She would have been proud of my skills.

Baby Jennifer was my godchild. I beamed with pride when asked at such a young age to have this honor. The picture above includes a cloth doll I made for her. I completely forgot about my handmade gift until seeing this resurrected picture.

Aunt Barb indicated that Jennifer still has it. The memory of that winter and the doll made my day. I now remember carefully choosing the pattern and material and then staying up to wee hours in my mom's sewing room to make the perfect gift for my godchild.

A picture really is worth a thousand words. Definitely worth a thousand thoughts to the one who shared the moment in time.


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