25 Aug

When I was three weeks old, my mom took me to Dryden to meet my grandparents for the first time.  While there, my Gramma made clay hand and foot prints as a keepsake for me.  I have a picture of my mom holding me tightly while my Gramma pushes my hands into a circle of clay.  My little round head, in the picture, is bright red.  I remember asking my mom why my face was so red and she said, “Well, Gramma had to forcefully push your hands into the clay, I think you were crying.” 

When I had my first child, my Gramma made the little clay disks for me and brought them to Thunder Bay but told me I had to make the prints myself because she was too old to make babies cry anymore.  So I pushed my little baby’s feet and hands into the clay and she took it back to Dryden with her and glazed it and fired it in her kiln.

When my second child was born, I asked if she could make the clay disks again.  I think she was surprised that I would want to do the whole process again with my second child, but my Gramma didn’t really understand my obsession with making sure everything was equal between my kids.  So we repeated the printing process, though this time my Gramma didn’t glaze the clay before firing it.

When I learned I was pregnant with my third, one of my first thoughts was, I need clay disks from Gramma.  We did know that my Gramma was slowing down and she didn’t really do pottery anymore.  It was a lot of work getting all the supplies and working the foot-pedaled potter’s wheel and lighting the kiln out in the garage.  I wondered if having her involved in the print making would even be possible.  

On a phone call over the winter, I mentioned that I’d need to do prints of baby’s hands and feet.  She mentioned that she heard even regular playdoh could be used for such things.  I figured she was subtly trying to tell me that she wasn’t up to the task of getting her clay out.  I understood of course, though I can’t deny that I was a bit disappointed.  After being a parent for seven years now, I know now that it’s pretty much impossible for everything between siblings to be 100% equal and fair.  The third child won’t get as much attention as the first child and that’s just life.  Our third child just won’t have great-gramma handprints.

But luckily we are able to take matters into our own hands, so to speak.

Some clay time for this little boy… 

 R2 did his own thing, but R3 made his mark for me… 


My prints along with R1 and R2’s prints:  

 Even though I wasn’t able to get genuine Gramma prints for my third little baby, I’m very lucky I get to enjoy her pottery in other forms., as well as her paintings, crocheted blankets, and even her homemade tea towels and dish cloths.  Her memory really lives on in the art she created.  

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