When I was growing up, I can't tell you how many times I heard my mother say, "Oh, that's too good to use. We'll save that for a special occasion." Or: "I did such a good job on this sweater - I really love it - who can I give it to?" Or: "Don't use that! We need to save that for company."
My mother either gave away her best, or kept her best for special occasions that somehow never materialized. She thought that way for two reasons. One was the Old World idea of hospitality. The guest always got the best. The best food, wine, bedding, etc. And gifts were meant to reflect your best - it was a way to show off your accomplishments & status. The second reason was personal - my mother had been adopted into a family where one person never let her forget that her "real" parents hadn't wanted her. (Blood is thicker than water!) That gave my very accomplished mother a very "real" self-esteem problem so a part of her always thought, "I'm not worthy of the best - just second best."
A couple of days ago I was looking through the bracelets I'd made and I found two that were my favorites. My immediate thought was, "Oh! Who can I give these to?" ....As I was deciding who would get a crocheted snowflake, I thought, "Gee - these are so pretty, I wish I had one for the tree."
I stopped in my tracks at both thoughts. I told myself that I try to do my best in everything I do, so keeping a favorite project for my own enjoyment isn't depriving anyone and makes me feel good & deserving also, which isn't a sin in anyone's book! :)
I was in my LYS the other day & the owner pointed out an older lady, "That's Mary, who never knits a thing for herself." Mary agreed & said, "I always think of someone who would like a project better than I would!" She & my mother would've gotten along famously.
Believe me, I have to fight the conditioning of my childhood every single day. But I keep telling myself that just as my mother was deserving of the best and never got it, I am deserving of the best and will have it. At least in the areas wherein I have a say! So the two bracelets I really liked I'll keep. And one of those snowflakes is now hanging on my tree.
It's not a matter of being selfish, it's a matter of enjoying life while you can. My father is gone and my mother struggles with Alzheimers in the last year or two of her life. Neither one enjoyed what they had when they had it & now they are beyond taking pleasure in anything.
So I've brought out the "special" Christmas goblets I bought about 12 years ago & am using them for my daily Diet Pepsis. :::grin::: The Christmas Tree salt & pepper shakers are out on my stove rather than saved for the Christmas Day table. I use my "good" perfume for everyday & wear my "expensive" jewelry when I run to Wal-Mart for groceries. Well...you get the idea.
Sorry to wax philosophical, but in this season of giving it's worth remembering that you deserve pampering too. Give to yourself as well as everyone else!
In knitting news, those Rainbow Skittle thoughts are paying off:
I have 12" finished - just 8 more & I'll be done. It looks like I'll squeak by with the yarn I have on hand. I googled for more red/black Tahki Safari yesterday & found a bag of 10 for $35! Hmmm...not something I want to buy just for a few extra yards on a sweater.
I'm off to Kindergarten for a couple of days...think of me while you all are out having adult conversations, ok? :::grin::::