Friday, May 4, 2012
Hearts of Haiti: My Own Mom Story
This Mother's Day, I'm working with Clever Girls in support of Macy's Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the "trade, not aid" program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.
My mom is a special lady. She's the oldest of five children, and life wasn't always easy for her or them when she was growing up. While they never had any money - my grandfather worked two or more jobs at all times, in addition to my grandmother's job - what they did have was a lot of fun and time spent together.
While we are lucky enough when I was a child to have more money than my mom did growing up, the lesson that time spent together is worth more than anything else was passed to my by her example, and she continues to do that yet today. I am constantly stopped by my friends at the wee ones' schools who have seen her interacting with the wee ones or talked to her, and every one of those friends sings the same refrain. "Your mom has got to be the sweetest woman alive. She is always so positive and she is just too sweet for words."
It's a lot for me to live up to, but it's absolutely true. While my mom can turn Momma Bear for the wee ones when she feels it's necessary, she would give the shirt of her back to help anyone, and she never has anything but time and energy for the wee ones. Even now, the wee ones are reluctant to talk about taking a vacation without my parents because they so often come with us.
When we had Mister Man's half birthday last month, for the first time my mom wasn't able to join us for the celebration. He was crushed, and it was only through my quick thinking that we were still able to have a celebration after I invited another family to join us. He wasn't full satisfied by that, however, so we "re-celebrated" his birthday later that week when both my parents were able to join us. As he sat on my mom's lap to blow out his candles, he look at me and smiled. "Mom, now I'm officially eight and a half. I can't have a birthday that counts without Grandma being here with me."
And that sums up my mom completely. She is so ingrained as a part of our lives that there isn't a milestone we can enjoy without her. She is what makes our family complete. As a way of showing her how much we all love her, I was lucky enough to be able to give her a Hearts of Haiti Goddess necklace, a one of a kind necklace handmade by master artisans in Haiti from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mache, and stone.
So what is Hearts of Haiti? It's a "Trade, Not Aid" initiative in concert with Macy's (where the items are sold) launched by by artist and social entrepreneur Willa Shalit, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, and Macy's. Hearts of Haiti employs 750 artists in Haiti, who in turn provide financial benefits to an estimated 8,500 people in the country. The Hearts of Haiti collection features more than 40 items from quilts to ceramics to jewelry to paintings to metalwork. Each piece is individually crafted and unique for that reason. They are all made almost entirely from recycled materials and can be purchased at Macys.com.
Thank you to Macy's Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart" promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own. I received two Hearts of Haiti necklaces, but was not compensated for writing this post.