Getting my granny on

In our family, there is a reverence around the art of crochet. It is a skill, a talent, a craft that has been passed down generation to generation to generation on our mother’s side. We grew up watching Memere, our mom’s mom, whip up blankets and granny squares and Barbie clothes and crazy quilts and baby clothes and pillow covers and decorative bed dolls and giant comforters and soft baby blankets and baptismal wraps and and and…she was a machine. And we all coveted what she had.

Draped over my couch, warmer of all my little family, made by my Memere.

Draped over my couch, warmer of all my little family, made by my Memere.

We’d all ask her, pleadingly, as her fingers whipped the yarn around her hook and magic transformed string into works of art, to teach us! The company line was, “When your fingers get bigger. They’re too small now, but I will teach you when they’re bigger.”

We all waited, with bated breath, for our fingers to grow to the perfect length, width, size to handle the hook and yarn and learn how to crochet like our Memere.

And then, finally, finally, we’d be her students and she our teacher, and we’d try so hard with tongues stuck out and fingers too rigid and nerves on edge as she taught us a chain, a single crochet, a double crochet, a triple crochet and then we’d finally have a wonky looking scarf and voila! We were magic too.

But time goes on. And perfect finger age turns into teenager age and then early 20s age, and then…you realize, you haven’t crocheted in eons. In fact…you may not even remember how. It’s a sin, considering how eager we all were to crochet, what a lasting gift it was from our grandmother, and what a handy skill it is to have some sort of craft under your belt.

Time marched me right into my hairdresser’s chair for my yearly hair cut (yes, really) and style, where I sit alone, with no babies around, and in the middle of my head massage (oh, yes, really), she asked me, “What do you do for you?”

I was pregnant with Isaac at this point, about ready to pop, and had Lillian running around and Sophie gearing up for school, and I had no idea. What did I do for me?

And then she told me what she did when her babies were young. She crocheted. She’d get everyone into bed, and then the hook would hit the yarn and she’d be off.

When she said that word, crocheted, filled with enchantment and childhood wonder, I got it. Instantly.

Crocheting is for adults. It is a ‘Mommy-only’ activity. It can only be done when little fingers aren’t trying to get all up in it. It can only be done by ME. AND?? It takes a tiny bit of brain power. In fact, it’s almost zen-like in its ability to make you focus on one thing and one thing only.

So, I went home and found all of my crocheting stuff. I had one hook and some sad yarn. I went to a crafting store and got a fancy set of hooks. I grabbed my sad yarn and thought about what I should make.

I settled on dishcloths, because they are USEFUL. And baby items. ALSO USEFUL. And after 5 dishcloths and 5 sets of misshapen booties, I decided maybe useful wasn’t the best idea.

And then, I let it drop again. Because BABIES EVERYWHERE.

But this Christmas, I really wanted to make stockings for our family. We don’t have uniform stockings. We have mismatched stockings that were free or purchased for other people (visiting family)…but no real stockings. I found a pattern online and planned to have all five of them whipped up over the month of December in time for Christmas. HA. It didn’t happen (clearly), but I did get the yarn at a killer price after Christmas, and have made it through 1 of 5 stockings.

The top cuff...it's finished now...and I just have to get the rest of them going. I should be done by Christmas.

The top cuff…it’s finished now…and I just have to get the rest of them going. I should be done by Christmas.

And then my sister-in-law, the fifth sister, Kim, asked if someone could make this headband:

Photo and pattern by Tender Moments Crochet

Photo and pattern by Tender Moments Crochet

I told the sisters that I was planning on making it, and they wanted in! Yarn-shopping adventure was ON! And then, of course, a granny night, complete with Friends on Netflix and homemade cookies and a rekindling of everything good about crocheting.

Granny Dee and Granny T

Granny Dee and Granny T

Granny J and Granny JQ

Granny J and Granny JQ

The finished product was gorgeous! Everyone who made one and got one LOVED them…and Kim?? Looks SMASHING!

Hot mama!

Hot mama!

I’ve been crocheting pretty steadily now since the New Year, and currently I’m working on a super-secret mission (if I told you, I’d have to kill you), but I’m getting to be pretty good! So good, in fact, that yesterday morning, when we were getting ready for a nice leisurely day of lounging around (it was a holiday here), the girls asked me if I could make them clothes for their lovies. Sophie wanted a sweater for the puppy stuffie she had received from Aunt Toni for Valentine’s Day, and Lillian wanted a Spider-Man dress (she LOVES Spider-Man) for her Baby (her most prized possession). After some Pinterest hunting, I came up with two patterns and got to work. It took a couple of hours for each, but both girls LOVED the final results.

Sophie and her sweatered puppy! Pattern from Knot Your Nana's Crochet

Sophie and her sweatered puppy! Pattern from Knot Your Nana’s Crochet

Spiderman Baby with Spiderman Lillian! Pattern from Mamma That Makes

Spider-Man Baby with Spider-Man Lillian! Pattern from Mamma That Makes

It was fun, being able to say yes to something, having the tools and skill and supplies to fulfill requests on the spot, and of course, magic, watching the girls pick out their yarn colours and then help me do fittings and watch me with the same eager eyes that I had watching my Memere whip up yet another something.

The enchantment carries on here and I’m already getting bombarded by, “Can you teach me to do that?” and “I want to learn.” and “Can I try?”

And I’ve already delivered the line, one that is as generational as the crochet hooks and yarn – “Yes, when your fingers are big enough, I will teach you.”

~ Julia

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Happy Birthday, Julia!

If you’ve been following along, you should know by now that the sisterhood is a big ball of mush when it comes to the people in our lives that mean the most to us, so it should come as no surprise as you read on.

My dear, Julia.

My innocent, kind, sweet, brave, overachieving, magic making, Julia.

Happy, happy birthday!

I am not sure there will ever be just the right word in the English language to describe the immense amount of gratitude I have for being granted the privilege to bear witness to the beautiful, crazy, meaningful and wonderfully messy life that you are creating.

Gratitude for the amount of helping to – let’s be honest – rear me, as livestock terms are much more suited for my younger years. Gratitude for the friendship we have been so blessed with the opportunity for, and the brains to know it’s worth it. Gratitude for you.

Between birthing three of my life’s greatest blessings, to being a beacon for all those who are struggling by bravely telling your story of triumph so others will feel a little less alone in their own heads, to reminding me that we have fought to grow into women that have the strength to do so – and as you do, once again providing the most incredible example a girl could ask for in a big sis.

As Lillian would say, “you’re a rockstar” and I hope you truly feel that way today as we continue to celebrate another year of you on this your day of birth.

<3

This love.

We love you an incredible amount!

~ Toni

 

What motherhood means to me

I have been blessed throughout my entire life with a wide range of mothers coming in and out of my life, but for the most part they all stay. They come into my life when I need them the most, even if I don’t think I do. They help me through the hard things, and hold my hand when I need them. They adopt me and keep me in their lives, and are never surprised when I show up to their houses unannounced. They are the women who raised me (and continue to do so), and it seems like it really did take a village to raise me, and because of them I always find the strength to move on to greater and better things in my life.

Motherhood to me is acceptance.

Acceptance is something I have always wanted for most of my life. I have always wanted to be welcomed in and cared for, it is something even to this day I crave. As the youngest of four girls I felt alone quite often in my life. Not always left behind, but more just brushed aside at times, especially when I wasn’t too lovable. My mom had her hands full raising all of us, and I came around when the rules seemed a little bit more relaxed, and when they weren’t quite expecting another one.

“She was your little accident,” my grandmother had said.

“I didn’t accidentally have sex; she is my miracle,” my mother replied sassily.

My mother, from that first moment, accepted that I was coming into the world, and she has never stopped accepting who I am and who I am becoming. The next mothers I have known are the women at our various congregations of our church, all of them loving to watch me and guiding me in small, but meaningful ways. They are the women in my life who I still call my ‘Aunts’ even though there is no actual relation. These are also the women that my mother coins as her life-long friends. Helping her raise me with a shoulder to cry on when needed, complain to when I was being impossible, and being another ear for me to voice my opinion and give me some insight into what my mother must be feeling.

Motherhood means listening.

I have a wonderful friend named Elena, and when I felt like I had nowhere to turn and was feeling overwhelmed in college, she and her mother were there to lend a third party unbiased listening ear to me. Whenever I see Birute, Elena’s mom, I still run towards her yelling, “MOMMY!” And whenever I am over and can actually get my butt out of bed, I still spend some wee hours of the morning sharing a cup of coffee and a little bit of catch up with her.

Motherhood to me means hugs.

I know that is a young thought, but think about it. Still to this day, whenever I am upset, have problems, or just feeling overwhelmed, all I want is a mommy-hug. There is nothing like a hug from a mother. It is warm, comforting, and just allows everything to lift from your shoulders. The only thing stopping me from saying that magic doesn’t exist is the mom-hug. It feels magical and is the one thing that feels like an instantaneous problem solver. Call me crazy all you want, but mom hugs are magic.

All of my various moms have had all of these qualities, they all accept me wholeheartedly, they all have listened to my various (sometimes overly dramatic, yeah, I admit it), problems, and all of them are always willing to give me that hug that I need so much on a constant basis.

However, motherhood, to me, is a beautiful, unconditional, all-encompassing love and the beautiful part? You don’t even have to be related to show this motherly love to people. I should know.

Thank you all my wonderful mothers, you know who you are, and I hope you know that you all are definitely counted as my blessings.

~ Andreah