Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mei-Mei's MoyaToyas

Mei-Mei and I have been friends since we were 12 and in the 7th grade.  She convinced me to take the bus to Sunrise Shopping Center, the first really big mall on Long Island, and G'ma let me do it.  Just the two of us, $20 for clothes in my pocket, and public transportation.  I was used to the LIRR and commuters; for errands we took the car.  But there we were, surrounded by people who needed the bus to get around town, who were on their way home from the store, bags puddles at their feet.

I do believe it was the first time I realized that everyone didn't live as I did.  I'm sure I didn't share that thought with Mei-Mei.  I was busy pretending that this was something I did every day.

The years and then we reconnected at our 40th high school reunion. We were the two little ones giggling, loudly.  She looks the same as she did in 1969; the travails of the intervening decades made no mark on her.  Her life hasn't been smooth and easy, though she deserved it to be so.  A caregiver and a caretaker and a worrier and a daughter par excellence, Mei-Mei didn't spend much time studying the lint in her navel.  There was always a project of some sort, professional or personal, and always there was her art.

Her work was distinctive.  Bright and cheery and simply elegant.  Always with a smile hiding right behind the stellar craftsmanship, her pieces tickle the funny bone and warm the cockles of your heart.  Just like she does.

Paying bills and maintaining her insurance, she's employed in a soul-sucking environment, a place that nags rather than nurtures.  She's a happy soul in spite of it all.

And there's more, denizens.  Isn't there always?  Mei-Mei has moyamoya.  It's alliterative.  That's about all that can be said in its favor.  It causes headaches and strokes and all sorts of other nasties but out in Palo Alto they're doing cutting edge research and it was there that Mei-Mei traveled, with Bass-Boy in tow, last year.  Stanford cut and Mei-Mei healed and then they sent her home to recuperate.  Aches and pains, immobility, medications with weird side effects -  she and I could trade stories of our recoveries and not feel that we were inviting the un-affected to our pity party. She was a welcome port in my storm.

She's back at work and getting along nicely, thank you for asking.  Her energy is low (like me, this is a new experience for her and takes some getting used to) and she has to ask for more help than she's happy about, but she's here to smell the hyacinths and that's all that matters.  We're in this good attitude boat together.

While she was mending back at home in New York, she put her busy fingers to work and these are what happened:

MoyaToyas by Mei-Mei

I told you she had style, didn't I?  Did you figure out what she used as the basic raw materials?  Yes, ma'am, she re-purposed those silly rubber-on-the-bottom hospital socks they give you so you don't slip on your way to x-ray.  Those socks that made such an impression on Big Cuter when CNN broadcast me in the memorial garden outside University Medical Center 8 days after the shooting.  Mine were bright yellow.

Mei-Mei turned them into kid-friendly bearers of smiles and love.  She donated the first batch to Louise Packard Children's Hospital out there at Stanford.  But there are many more sick kids and too few hospital socks for Mei-Mei to play with.  This is where you come in, denizens.

Do you have some of those socks in your dresser drawer?  Does your dad have some from when he went in for his last prostate surgery?  Is your mom hiding them from her hip replacement?  How about the ones you got when your last child entered this world?

When was the last time you wore them?  If the answer is "last night' you have my permission to skip the rest of this post and come back to The Burrow in the morning.  If the answer is "Who knows?" then I have a favor.  Would you send Mei-Mei an email at moyatoyas@gmail.com and let her give you directions on how and where to send them.

It's win-win:  your drawer is just a little bit emptier and her fingers are just a little bit busier and everyone's heart is a lot fuller.

I promise to post more pictures with the treasures she creates.


  1. Wow! Those are super cute! And I have several pairs of those socks. They gave me a number of them when I had my three children. I will gladly send them off to Mei-Mei.

    What a way to give back and recycle.

    Thanks for sharing this with us today. I have a big smile on my face.

    Megan xxx

  2. I wish I had some to donate - but luckily, I've not been in a hospital in years. I'll ask around, though, and see what I can locate.

  3. Smiles are good things! Not being in the hospital is a good thing! Sending sox to Mei-mei is a good thing.

    See how easy it is to keep a happy attitude?!

  4. How adorable! After we get done with our South Carolina to Oklahoma move this week, I'll dig out the pairs I have from having babies the past two summers. Thanks for the heads up! :)

  5. Two under two and you're moving across the country and you have time to think of the MoyaToyas?! I love my readers :)

  6. What an awesome idea! I will check to see if we have some to send.

  7. I wish I had some of those socks to give her, because her MoyaToyas are wonderful!! So whimsical and adorable.

    Btw, I just spent a week visiting Tucson and area. You are lucky to live in such a beautiful place. All that natural beauty must help your healing. :)

  8. Talk about lemonade out of lemons. I like her!

  9. I had an MRI this morning and they gave me a pair of those socks to wear...I told them about this project and the ladies are excited about collecting them rather than tossing now! Forwarding all the deets to them this afternoon...

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