Babushka Valya with my mother and uncle
There are so many ways to tell a story. With words. With music. With our hands. For decades my grandmother used her weathered hands to stitch a story of resilience, strength and perseverance. Her eyes had seen so much pain but from her fingers sprang forth fluffy hats and cozy sweaters. Pink and blue booties that would patiently sit atop dressers waiting for their squishy pink owners to arrive into this world. The click and clack of those needles and squeal of the sewing machine wheel are sounds I will always associate with babushka Valya. For over sixty years she supported her family of six children and a husband who was often away for work with the children’s clothing she knit and sewed. You would be hard pressed to find someone in her village who didn’t grow up wearing her handmade creations. And eventually my daughter, Valya, was lucky enough to be the recipient of her handiwork.
I’ll never forget the day the two little hats came in the mail. I sat in my rocking chair, in an empty nursery and placed the hat on my blossoming belly. I rocked and dreamed of seeing my little one wearing something that was so much more than a hat. It would be a legacy… A passing of a torch. Perhaps this is when the first seeds of Valya Kids were planted.
Babushka Valya has passed away but she lives on in the eyes and spirit of our Valya. And now here – a place that will always pay homage to the humble, hardworking, creative and fearless woman that babushka Valya was. Our clothes are meant to bring joy to children, to harken to a time when children spent their days outside eating fruit straight off the trees and wearing the soles of their shoes down while running around until the sunset called them home. To a time when you knew where your food came from because you planted it yourself, cars were a novelty and there was one television in your entire neighborhood.
Close your eyes… hear the static from the radio, the clap of the screen door, the neighbor’s dog barking in the background and the crow of the rooster. Taste babushka’s pie on the tip of your tongue and smell the warm milk splashing in the bucket on its way out of the barn. Are you home yet?