08 October 2011

The Sock Animals That Saved My Life

handmade, sock animals
handmade, sock animals, sock and glove
handmade, sock animals, sock and glove

handmade, sock animals, elephant

When my first husband very resolutely told me that he no longer loved me & started voicing his more-determined-than-ever desire to end our marriage, it was a very strange time in our household!  I knew this time it was different than I'd ever seen before.  I knew it really, really was coming to an end this time & at that point, there really was nothing I could possibly do to stop it.  But in those last few months when he was figuring out how and when to end it, somehow our previous lifestyle pretty much continued.  He'd meet me at the train after work and we'd go for burgers, we'd explore our neighborhood, spend time with friends, spend time together at home, laugh and enjoy conversation & music, etc.  So much of these last few months appeared very much normal.  I think it was due to his sense of relief, at knowing he was freeing himself of a situation he didn't want to be in, and also due to my desire to no longer react to his behavior (I had just learned that tid bit in the year prior :).  And, we were still best friends.  But, despite all that, it was still a very sad time because we were no longer meeting up for dinner as husband and wife, but as two people whose lives were on the brink of parting ways. 

And so...........I started making sock animals.  Tons & tons of them.  Every night after work I'd come home and he'd be on the computer and I'd start sewing my little heart out on the couch so that my mind could be focused on something other than this man that was about to leave me.  Those sock animals saved my life during that time.  You can't be upset about anything when you're making a sock animal by hand.  Well, the knots and threads and broken needles and raw finger tips might make you want to cuss.  But you really can't be moping about anything else while you're trying to figure out what the cute little bugger's face is going to look like.  So I made 'em.  And I put a lot of heart and soul into them.  And they got me through nearly an entire summer of living under the same roof with my husband who was making plans to leave.  At the end of the summer, I had already given away plenty of animals, but also had a bundle of 10 of them for my sweet nieces and nephews whom I was going to see at my parent's 40th Wedding Anniversary out west.  My husband was supposed to be on that plane with me.  But instead, I was on a plane with 10 little animals, sobbing with tears and snot just pouring out of my face as I had just said good bye to him at the curb for the very last time.  He soon was on a plane to AU, never to return to NY.  Without a doubt, giving those animals to my nieces and nephews & feeling some joy by doing so, was one of the greatest blessings of my life.

 So my advice to you today is to find a little hobby, especially if your life is difficult right now for any reason.  I am telling you, a hobby will ease the burden and give your heart and mind a rest.  :)  And, it will be fun.  (Yes, even if there is NOTHING else good going on your life, you can still feel some enjoyment.)

Right now my time is very limited due to work (even doing my hair & flossing my teeth feels like an extracurricular activity!  :).  And so instead of photography, piano playing, crocheting, macaron making, gardening, sewing, canning food, quilting, cooking, reading more, and making more sock animals (I have a long list of new babies I want to give these to), the only hobby I can squeeze in is writing this blog.  But what a great experience it has been to write all this down...I am grateful for this hobby, too.

Do you have any hobbies that help to ease your burdens or stress? I'd love to hear.  I'll be adding them to my fantasy list of hobbies :)

23 comments:

  1. I've just come across your blog via Design Mom, and I absolutely love it! I've spent the whole morning reading your posts and find them so inspirational and powerful! Thank you, will definitely be making your blog part of my daily reads. Keep them coming:)

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  2. these sock animals are so adorable! i agree that hobbies are so important. i have a million (mostly unfinished) projects/hobbies but they keep me going when i want to be distracted. :)

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  3. This post tore at y heart--you are right, it is so good to have something to do when your mind wants to dwell on sadness or hurt or anger.
    You did a lovely job creating something sweet out of such sadness.
    I have many hobbies, but my main hobby is writing. It helped me through many of the hardest days after a miscarriage and then marriage troubles.
    Photography is the other one.
    When I blog, the go hand in hand, so it works out pretty nicely.
    I even started a blog about the things I love/my "hobbies", home made cooking, mid century design, vintage books, estate sales etc, where I could enjoy all my "hobbies" in one place.
    It's a pretty fabulous way to fill my verylimited free time,
    Loving your blog.
    Love from,
    Greta

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  4. I tell all of my friends this same thing. I am on a quest to find hobbies for a few of my friends who get so bored during the day. If I didn't have my hobbies during the day to do something for ME, I would be so depressed. What is it about sewing that brings such joy? I have always sewed things but it wasn't until I had a girl that I just LOVED it. It is my favorite thing to make cute skirts and dresses for little girls. I could go on and on with hobbies I love but sewing is my favorite for now.

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  5. I totally agree everyone needs a hobby. I have had so many over the years, and now I have hardly any time at all to do any of them. Creating anything at all floats my boat. Right now, I guess my hobby is teaching children art. It relieves stress in me while building confidence in them. I suggest volunteering at your school, it's a great hobby. And when there's time, make something... anything :) a favorite quote of President Uchtdorf is this: "creativity is our purpose in life". I think Whit and I will pull out the socks and make a sock animal, thanks Mara.

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  6. Mara. My heart! Thinking of you saying good bye to him for the last time and crying on that plane by yourself just kills me. I will always cherish Lucca's favorite little sock doggie ("Mommy Dog" as she calls it) forever, for so many reasons. We love you like crazy!

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  7. Greta - Can we spend a Saturday together? :) I freaking love mid-century design, vintage books and estate sales (or stoop sales, as we call them in Brooklyn). Growing up, I used to drive around to all the yard sales with my mom very early on a Sat. AM. I dream of doing that again someday.

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  8. Annelise - I didn't know you sewed! Ah. That is so fun. I would love to tackle some sewing projects someday. I actually have a ton of fabric leftover from Harvey that I need to put to use.

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  9. Just spend the past while reading all your posts. It's a real breath of fresh air to read something so inspiring, insightful, and uplifting! Too often I see/get sucked into reading blogs that are kind of the opposite. Just last week I went through my google reader to whittle it down to just 7 blogs that actually mean something to me. Anyway, just thought I'd stop by to say hello. I loved reading your stories, and I love your personality! Real, fresh, honest. Loved your Mother's Day talk, too, and it's got me thinking. Thank you! Hope you're having a lovely weekend. Enjoy the HOT weather we'll be getting here in the NE tomorrow! Eeks!

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  10. Sara - yeah, I'd say that was the saddest moment of my life. Pretty unreal. It was actually the last time I saw him. It was just awful cause I was calling him trying to say good-bye one more time before my plane left, but he wouldn't answer his phone. Turns out he left his cell phone at home! But once he returned to Brooklyn, we did get some brief texting in literally as my plane took off. Those loving words would break your heart. And on top of all that, I was in a MIDDLE SEAT on that plane with NO KLEENEX! I was literally using my shirt to wipe snot off my face while the two passengers next to me wondered who has just died. What an experience that was.

    On a lighter note...."Mommy Dog"?? That is the cutest name ever!! :) :)

    XO

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  11. Wait, are these for sale?! They are soooo freaking cute!

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  12. i never knew how much i needed a sock animal until tonight!! :)

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  13. Rubi, I bet you have the coolest unfinished projects ever. I would love to raid your hobby cubby. (Thx for reading! Miss your haircuts!!)

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  14. Rik & Design Loving - you had me smiling from ear to ear. Thank you so much for reading. It is a pleasure to have you.

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  15. Laurie - your "hobby" (ha!) is one of the best ones ever cause you have been able to enrich so many kids' lives by doing it. Thanks for loving art so much and now helping it to be taught to kids all across the country. You are such an amazing woman. [This is her nationwide "hobby" if anyone is interested....{Great Artist Program} www.greatartistprogram.com]

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  16. I have been feeling so awesome reading your blog. Thank you!

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  17. I came across your blog this morning, and I'm enjoying it so much! I agree with you about the importance of hobbies. Mine is sewing, and I love keeping a blog about it. My blog has brought so many amazing experieces, God has surprised with that!
    Looking forward to catching up on your blog, my favorite post so far is the marriage tips. :)

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  18. Hi Mara,

    I found your blog recently and have read every post. You and Danny are so refreshing. I relate to so so much of your divorce stuff (going through some difficult stuff of my own right now) and I am so impressed with your wisdom and honesty. Keep up the great work..I am going to send my blog readers your way!

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  19. For an entire year after I was divorced, I would come home after work, get in pajamas and cross stitch all evening. I now have that 16x20 piece of art framed as a reminder that I did survive, and that it's okay to grieve, take time to heal, and that I would never have the amazing people or the amazing adventures I have now if I hadn't made the choices I had and the experiences that carved me into who I am today.

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    Replies
    1. I can relate to this COMPLETELY! It's so true!

      I'm recently divorced, well 18 months now, and I love hearing other women finding happiness and healing once again! I wouldn't trade what I've been through either... it's made me such a more compassionate person (and not so naive either lol)...

      Thanks for sharing this! :)

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    2. Mara, I'm seriously contemplating a divorce after 42 years of marriage; my husband has been addicted to porn the entire time and cannot connect emotionally with me. I'm now being affected and not coping well anymore; having all kinds of emotional and physical problems. Thanks for sharing your sock animal story. Hobbies were my coping skill in the past but not lately; I've been so depressed. You've inspired me to create again which will help me get through I'm so glad I happened upon your site.God bless you.
      Geri

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  20. Found you through Cup of Jo today. Your blog is a beautiful gift to the world. You're brave to write so honestly about your pain. (And you are so smart to turn your pain into lovely handmade gifts for others.) I am in tears imagining what you went through. I have been through a divorce too. But it is very inspiring to read your positive words and to see the positive strategies you've used to bring love into your life and the lives of this around you. Thank you.

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  21. I came across ur blog, looking what to do with the pictures of our life together. I'm separated at the moment with the promise of a future divorce. I ended it. I feel HORRIBLE in the angry way I presented the end of 25 years, but I wasn't being heard, seen, or valued. I have yet to grieve although I cry all the time. We both moved out, to our own places. Children are adults now (23, 22). We did stay in the same house, amicably for 6 months, til he moved out. I find myself feeling guilty for ending my misery. I left to save myself. Although he never hit me, cursed at me, cheated on me, told me no, lied to me...(there are worse things), I feel sorry for him. He makes 3x what I do, and I find myself feeling guilty for jumping ship. I don't know how to grieve this. Thank u for being so honest in ur writing.

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