I have a small pillow hanging on my bedroom door that was embroidered by an old family friend of ours named Gladys.
Gladys worked with my aunt Nancy, I think and, later, befriended my Grandparents. She was always with us as far back as I can remember and, somewhere along the line, became an honorary member of the family. She attended every birthday, Christmas, Easter, Buckeye football game, July 4th BBQ...whenever we were all together, Gladys was with us.
I don't think I ever knew why Gladys didn't have a family of her own - if she was ever married or had kids, if she had any siblings or nieces or nephews, or if they all just lived far away. I was young and stupid back then I guess and just never thought to ask. But I know that we loved her just like she was blood. And that was special for us. And for her.
Gladys had a HUGE fat black and white cat, a ton of Hummel figurines, was kind of a funny curmudgeon, and was sweet in her own way.
And Gladys was an embroiderer. A truly gifted embroider. She did amazing work and gave much of it to us. We all have towels or pillow cases or framed verses in our homes...
And I have this pillow on my door. I think that's how Gladys told us how she felt about us, how she passed on what she learned from the love she gave and received from my family. And the work she did on this little pillow speaks to me everyday.
"Nicole, Among God's best gifts to you are the people who love you".
A truer statement has never been embroidered.