This Mother’s Day, I’m working with Clever Girls Collective 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. The program was launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.
“You’re a cool mom.”
“Well, we’d been talking about it for a while and it’s better than taking him where there are a ton of people all crowded in and…”
“YOU’RE A COOL MOM, admit it!”
“Um. Okay, thank you. I try!”
This is the conversation I had with the nurse at the cancer clinic yesterday. I had recently taken Jack to Build-A-Bear and we came out with a cat dubbed Obi-Meow. I hadn’t intended to get clothing for the cat Jack wanted to make, but I couldn’t walk out of there without the Star Wars gear!
We went because the cat (Fluffy) Jack normally carries around seems to have had a tail incident. I could sew it back up, but it was a cheapy toy that I bought on clearance at the grocery store after Easter last year so a split tail is likely the beginning of the end…and anyway, we were looking for something fun to do together that wouldn’t wear Jack out completely.
So off we went. He absolutely wanted a cat no matter what and we quickly identified one. Jack made a wish on the heart (he wished they could be best friends always), we both kissed it, and then it was put it inside the cat before stuffing it. He then took it to the grooming station and brushed its fur. He can tell the story in detail and never forgets to mention the paw-shaped brush he used.
We tried Darth Vader clothes on the cat but they didn’t quite fit so we moved on to Jedi clothing. That was when we decided the cat should be named Obi-Meow. One of the employees found a light sabre for us, as well.
Jack takes Obi-Meow everywhere now. While heading out the door to the clinic yesterday, he said, “We can’t forget Obi-Meow! Remember when you said she’d want to go everywhere with me?”
Putting together and grooming his very own stuffed animal was special to Jack. He now has something he can take care of when everyone is busy taking care of him, and this has seemed to help his outlook. He’s been more cheerful lately and, while he won’t talk about his treatments or much else, he’ll tell all kinds of stories about Obi-Meow. Somehow that cat is reassuring to him.
Taking Jack to Build-a-Bear was an early Mother’s Day celebration for me. I didn’t get breakfast in bed or chocolate but I got to create a wonderful memory with my son. I saw him in a new light as he cared for his new friend, a friend that will sit with him through the upcoming challenges with his cancer treatment, a friend whose heart will remind him that his mom loves him.
That’s probably more cheesy than cool, but I’ll take it!
Heart of Haiti products are available online at Macy’s.com. Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings, and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.
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.