Friday, February 21, 2014
For (the sake of) Grace
There was a very windy, sweeping storm last night. We woke up to sunshine, warmth, birds chirping and the tricky business of believing it could be Spring. Jeff said there was something a little sad about the sunshine today but he couldn't say what exactly. Something sort of sad about Spring. While he sat on the side of the bed with his coffee, (hoping the aroma would coax me to upright) me still buried in blankets, I offered that maybe it's sort of like the sadness of waking up. After sleeping deep in the dark, cold winter. The beauty of the morning however can only be explained one way for me today. Today is my Mama's birthday. She would have been 69. When I think of her and birthdays, I think of all she did for us and her grandchildren. I think of cakes. Presents. The utter joy she had of finding just the right thing for one or the other of us (and on sale too!). But for so many years now birthdays have been about knitting for the grandchildren. She divided the 12 of them (13 now) into two groups of receiving a handknitted gift from her. One year she made something for each of my six children, then the next year she made something for the other 6 (my brother's 4, and my sister's 2). So everyone got a handmade every other year. A pretty sweet deal. We would periodically expect an email from mom asking us to measure one child or another so that she could plan the size, yarn, needles, gauge, and other details. I always, in my limited understanding of knitting from patterns, would overlook those details in our conversations and just wanted to see the color of the yarn and the pattern she had planned. This was typical for mom and I as a pair. I got excited about everything that I could see and dream of, she concentrated on the details of getting it right. She saved the excitement part for seeing her gorgeous grandchildren in the sweaters. She did not love doing color work. She loved intricate stitches. She was a beautiful knitter. She has made amazingly lovely pieces. She said a prayer for the recipient with every single stitch. In the rear view mirror, I think that my slow uptake on knitting over the years has been because I just always wanted her to do that. I wanted it to be hers. I wanted, in very recent years, to not be the one knitting in the family. We needed her for that. I want to call her right now and tell her to check my blog for the pictures of Grace's sweater. I think in the winter of of 2012, I began focusing on finally getting this knitting thing figured out because I felt that she would be handing this work to me at some point soon. And at her hospital bedside last April (knowing that she had two knitting bags back at her hotel), I asked her permission to "help" with her knitting projects for a while. My sister asked to work on the Christmas pajamas. She smiled and blessed us each with a nod. She gave us permission. And so very much more.
I will never knit like her. I can hear her saying in my mind, as she is looking at this, that she would never dream up working the colors this way, but they are so beautiful. It will be perfect for her, she would say. My sweet niece, Grace, is 6 years old today. Yes, she shares a birthday with mom. It is so very appropriate that the first handknit, or as we call them "Nani Knits" that I created, is given on the day that we celebrate them both. It followed a pattern from Mom & Me Knits. But it's not pale solid pink. It is striped and then some. In Grace's favorite colors. It's doesn't have big grosgrain poufy bows on the shoulders, because my niece is not a poufy girl. It is bright and cool and gutsy like her. Like both of us. I made it with as much love & capability as I could muster, and trying to be all that my mama loves in me. It is not perfect. Only perfect in that it is a gift. Still given from Nani. Like the gift Nani continues to be for us.
Happiest of Birthdays, Sweet Grace. A good day to be born. (I hope it fits!)