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jodie ching and sharon tomasa

Mother's Day Guest Blogger: Jodie Ching

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Recently, my mom and I were asked to make “something” to sell at the Hui O Laulima, an Okinawan women’s auxiliary club, annual holiday party.  Every December, they hold a holiday luncheon at the Honolulu Country Club with entertainment, baked goods and crafts. So we agreed to make a few “somethings” starting in September. Our only intention was to have fun as mother and daughter doing a project together, even if we only sold one item.

So here we were in September asking the question, “What should we make?” During my life before children, I enjoyed making jewelry. And, my mom always had a passion for sewing. Since Mom’s good friend, Mary Kamiya, recently showed her how to wrap wooden beads with fabric scraps, as well as roll fabric into cylindrical beads, we decided making necklaces with Mom’s fabric beads would be the perfect project for us.

A couple times a week, we got together and spread everything out onto the dining room table, broke out a bottle of our favorite wine—usually Meiomi Pinot Noir—and sometimes turned on the television if a good k-drama happened to be on that night. If it was a k-drama night, production was slow due to the need to read subtitles while we worked. We had all our materials on hand, Mom just used her leftover fabric scraps from her sewing projects and I took out my old beads from deep inside of my closet. I had not made jewelry for a craft fair in about over 15 years. After she wrapped a bunch of beads I would coordinate colors on my bead board and string them together.

As we worked on our necklaces, I began to enjoy this special time together. We worked in harmony. I thought of how the only other times I felt we were in perfect synchronicity is when we were shopping or cooking. Having similar taste in fashion makes shopping fun; and since we’ve been cooking together for so long, when she tells me what dish we are making, I know exactly the ingredients to prepare and in what order, so she can just be “in the zone” cooking without a word of instruction.

Now, if you ask my brother, Tod, or my dad, outside of these particular situations, I often feel she’s a bossy mom, and she often feels that I’m a sassy daughter. That’s why this new bonding time of making necklaces with my mom is worth blogging about. Somewhere in between her usual “you shoulds” and my almost daily eye-rolls, we are able to find occasional moments of pure bliss and synergy. I complimented her beautifully wrapped beads, and she got really excited to see them become wearable art.

Soon, the day of the Hui O Laulima Christmas Luncheon was upon us. In the end, we made about 25 necklaces, a modest amount because we didn’t want to pressure ourselves to make a huge amount. I think we both felt that we had so much fun spending time together making necklaces, we would have been happy if just one necklace sold that day. Then, we set up shop spreading our festive red table cloth on a four-foot table and the ladies started to come. Our first few shoppers wore their necklaces right away. Other women started to come by and said they saw the other ladies wearing our necklaces and wanted one for themselves. We were sold out in just a little over an hour! In addition, one of our necklaces that we donated for the party’s silent auction started a bidding war! During the christmas luncheon some women came and expressed their regret in not purchasing a necklace earlier.

Bringing these women happiness with our necklaces while they enjoy friendship and good times at the luncheon was an invaluable holiday gift to Mom and I. A mother and daughter relationship is like no other—complete with “I’m just telling you because I care” remarks, eye-rolls, sighs, laughter, empty wine bottles, k-drama time, trips to the mall for dresses, passing down family recipes, and creating wearable art together. When I see someone wearing our necklace it is a symbol of what Jamie always says about people being like beads strung together—we are all connected.

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