Sunday, March 09, 2008

Appreciate the Gift

This blog might not be written very well today and I am sorry. I am just feeling so very emotional that I just really want to get this all out of my head and written down...so bare with me...

I went to my grandmother's old trailer this weekend to help my mom clean out her storage shed. See, grandma recently moved into a senior home because she couldn't really live by herself anymore. Plus, all of her friends had moved away and she was so lonely. We (as a family) thought that if she lived in a place with other people her age and with age appropriate activities she would have more of a "life". However, even now, she just sits in her apartment and doesn't venture out too much to meet new people.

Anyway, when I headed over to the shed to help my mom I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Would I see old clothes, old tools and old suitcases? Was it really necessary that I had to be there? My grandma and grandpa (who passed away nearly 10 years ago) were/are really close. I am the one who "takes care of" my grandma since the rest of my family lives almost an hour away (I live five minutes). I spent much of my toddler years hanging out with my grandma or going with my grandpa to the coin shop to exchange the coins he had found while he went metal hunting. My grandparents have meant the world to me. I knew that seeing their old things was going to touch my heart but I really didn't expect that seeing an old box of yarn was going to cause me to cry like I haven't done in years.

My grandma is the one who set me on this path I am on with my knitting and crochet. Forever, I wanted to learn how to do that but it seemed that life always got in the way. Still, I can remember her sitting in her chair when I was a little girl asking me if I wanted an afghan. Wow, my grandma was going to make me a blanket all by herself. That was the coolest thing I thought. I remember getting to look through several booklets and finally, I found it! I had picked the most girly afghan I had seen.

The one I picked was white and four different shades of pink. It was made up of several granny square motifs that had a rose in the middle. I LOVE THIS AFGHAN. Now that I know how to crochet I can appreciate that blanket even more (man I hate making granny squares!). The love and time that was taken with each and every stitch. PRICELESS!

I think I got it when I was around 7 years old and I had it on my bed until I went to college. Why didn't I take it to college? Well, my mom and dad moved when I went to college and packed away my afghan so I didn't see it for a long time. And I mean a LONG time!!! As a matter of fact, I just got it back last year when my mom and dad decided to move again!
My mom found it stashed away in a closet tucked inside a plastic cover for protection.

When I brought it home after having been separated for so many years I had to pull it out of the plastic to show John and tell him the story behind it. It was then that my daughter saw it...and it brought back so many memories when she said with the same glossy eyed excitement "MOMMY, I LOVE IT!". I started to cry when she took it from my hands and put it on her bed.

I could remember the joy I had when I got to do the same thing so many years ago.

Where am I going with this? Well, this old yarn I found in the shed was full of the yarn my grandmother used for this afghan.

*crying as I type this*

I even found some of the extra squares that she had made. Can you believe that after so many years and so many afghans my grandma was still hanging on to this yarn? Pearing into the box I saw it...white, light pink, mauve, pink, and maroon...instantly my eyes filled with tears. My mom asked me if I wanted the yarn or should she give it to the Goodwill. I told her I wanted to take it and go through the box at home later.

I got home, and I brought the box in from the car. John asked me what it was and I told him in a choked up voice that it was yarn. He looked at me puzzled as I dumped the box and I wept.

There it was...my grandma's stash! What was left of a life of crocheting for other people...shoved in one old box...dumped on my living room floor...representing so many memories. How does a crocheter...a knitter...a grand-daughter just ignore what this yarn meant to somebody else?

You don't. You don't ignore, forget, or belittle the yarn. You just remember the happiness it brought to the woman you love and pray that someday when your own stash is given away that the lucky person who gets it is just as appreciative of the gift.

I held up the yarn and the squares and showed John. Streams of tears were rolling down my face as I explained to him what he was looking at. He got up off the couch and came to the floor where I was sitting and just held me.

I am a lucky woman.


26 comments:

Brianna said...

You are lucky, Marlyface. And very blessed.

Cookey_knits said...

Wow I was just thinking of my grandma and how she used to crochet hats, mitts and scarfs sets for all us lucky grandchildren. How lucky are you to get her stash and the one she made something for you with.

Brynne said...

You've got me crying now, too. What a beautiful story.

Roe said...

Marly, I'm sniffling along with you. My Nana died when I was in college, but I was also very close with her. I never asked her to teach me how to knit or crochet (she did teach me how to do a mean running stitch with needle and thread, though).

When I learned how to crochet after she died, my aunt gave me a box she had (my mom, aunts & uncles all cleaned out her apartment together). Inside were stacks of granny squares she had been working on when she died. And a few Crochet Fantasy magazines.

So I know how you feel, because even though I'm afraid to try and put those granny squares together even now, 15 years later (I'm afraid I'll mess it up somehow and ruin it), that box is front and center in my closet. Every time I pick up a pair of needles or a hook, I can imagine her smiling and thinking, "At least one of 'em learned how."

I miss my Nana every day. I know you treasure the time you have with yours. Enjoy her.

Tracie (ShadeTreeTracie from Rav) said...

That's a beautiful story. You're a lucky girl. I didn't have a grandmother who crocheted or knitted, so I never inherited the stash, and it's something I really wish for. I just hope one day when my stash and all the crochet books I've collected go to someone else, they'll appreciate them as much as I do now.

Hugs to you, my friend.

The Gourmet Goddess said...

I just recently finished what I am calling a memorial sock. http://thegourmetgoddessknits.blogspot.com/2008/03/sock-pair-of-clogs-purse-and-hangnail.html
I was knitting it while my Nana faced her final days and during the week of her funeral. I knit it when I traveled to Sweden the week after for a dear old friend's funeral. I still am working on the other sock.

I still haven't gone through my Nana's stash but I will. Last summer I was visiting my grandmother in another province. I went through all her pattern books and brough home a big stack of them. Sadly I didn't really go through her stash because it was mostly cheap acrylic and I wasn't interested. Yarn snobby of me, isn't it? That's a lot of the same reason I haven't been in a hurry to go through Nana's stash. But then I realized that the memorial socks, as I'm calling them, are knit from a pattern from one of those old pattern books I got from my Grandmother. The book is about 40 years old. So that makes me feel a little better.

It is a beautiful tradition to hand down our crafts from generation to generation. My grandmother and my Nana both were too old and forgetful to really help me when I started knitting just over a year and a half ago but I know it has pleased them both to see me pick up on such a time honoured tradtion. I'm sure it has pleased your grandmother too.

Knit Eat Sleep said...

What a great find and a great story. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad you still have the blanket to have in your house and pass on to your daughter. :) I love your heart!

Knitted Gems said...

Wonderful story. I'm so glad that you still have the afghan and the yarn. It's a treasure that can be enjoyed for years to come.

amanda said...

Aww, Marly, what a wonderful find. I'm sure every stitch you knit with her yarn will be even more meaningful to you.

SusieH said...

How lovely, lovely, lovely. What a gift your grandmother gave you, both the afghan and the creative heart...

Lyda said...

*sniff* Beautiful story. I'm so glad your daughter loves the afgan and can cherish it too. A family heirloom, for sure.

Allegra said...

very sweet post, marly. very sweet. and i second what nachaele wrote, i love your heart too!

Kara said...

I am glad that you were able to keep that yarn and have that memory of your grandma - I have an affgan that is still in storage that my Aunt Martha made for me - She died when i was 9 and my mom put it away so we would have it when we were older, but she is still trying to find it :-) It means alot to have these memories of your loved ones - Hugs -

Stacey said...

I lost the ones my grandmother made me due to age, lack of amazement, and too many moves. I am so glad you were able to find the yarn because it is so evident that you do appreciate it and have an awe and wonder about it. I think it's great, and now I must go find some tissue.

Jacquelyn Landry said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes. Isn't it such a wonderful gift that we as crafters can take our family history and pass it down to our children in the form of a well-loved handcrafted piece and sometimes in the well-loved craft itself.

Jacque

Donna said...

You are very lucky. And your post was very touching. I lost my grandma last week and she too was the one who taught me to crochet. I have all her crochet hooks and such - they were given to me when she went into the nursing home a year ago. And they are very special to me.

Thanks for the post....

knitting2relax said...

Oh Sherlock, you are a very lucky woman. Give your grandma a hug from her stash the next time you see her.

ChelleC said...

Oh gosh, that story really touched my heart. So lucky that you have a special man who understands. And of course, many crocheters that do as well.

StarSpry said...

That is so sweet, Marly! If I wasn't at work I'd be crying, too!!

I'm glad that you were able to receive your grandma's stash. That's a great picture of the 2 of you :)

KariBeri said...

Oh marly you had me in tears! Your grandma sounds wonderful!

Karla said...

What a special treasure. Perhaps you could make a small something for your Grandma from the stash to brighten up her new place. Maybe incorporate some of the extra squares somehow???

Anonymous said...

When I was seven I was at my grandparents house and I was bored so my grandmother taught me to crochet. She taught me the only thing she knew how to do which was to make a chain. For hours I chained and ripped and chained until I could do it perfectly. Instead of my grandmother making me an afghan I made my grandmother several over the years, including the last one when she was in a nursing home and was on her bed until last April when she passed away at 102. I know I can't complain because I had her for so long, but it doesn't matter how old they are when they leave, you still miss them just as much. Over the years I have knit, crocheted, needlepointed, quilted and made any number of craft items, and my grandmother would always look at everything I gave her proudly and say it was because she taught me how to chain that I was making all these things. Cherish your grandmother, and sometimes its very hard to do, but one day you'll be missing her as I miss my grandmother.

Thanks for letting me tell about my grandmother.

Tina said...

Thanks Marly for sharing this story. We all have special loved-ones that make an indelible mark in our lives. The stash is something you both share and represents wonderful memories of your childhood. You are lucky to have such a great grandmother! Can we see the afghan:) ?

5elementknitr said...

Years ago, my mom sent me a box of my gma's fabric leftovers (she made all her own clothes). The stuff all smelled like my gma, who'd died a few years earlier. I had the same reaction, I just sat on the floor surrounded by all this old fabric, bawling.

I miss her every day...

val said...

I just got done bawling over your post. I get so upset when I see an afghan at a yard sale or goodwill that I buy it and let my kids use them for dolls or whatever. Many people have no idea the love that is put into each stitch. It is good some of us do!

Slicer said...

Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I know it must have been hard for you. My grandmother made all of us a knit afghan, and I love it! I was very sad when she passed away, but I do have her knitting supplies, which I've used a few times.

We'll all just have to keep the crafts alive in us and anyone else who seems at all interested.