Monday, January 7, 2008

Endings and beginnings

The last weeks have brought both joy and sadness to our home.

Christmas brought my son and his family, Tbdonsled
and the joy of sharing a second birthday with a grandson I never dreamed of having.  Seeing my own "baby" as a great dad is a joy only those of you who have experienced this can probably understand.  Being a grandmother (or "Mimi", as I have chosen) is an honor I hope I can live up to.  Having almost no memories of my own grandmothers, I want to give this child the memories I wish I had.   Sharing our snowy world with a beach baby was just the greatest...and for the first time in my life, I discovered the joy of sledding.  I'm already planning for our next snowy adventure together.

Two days after Christmas, my mother in law passed away, so we found ourselves heading to the mid west for both her funeral and a long overdue visit with the family. 

She was a farm wife.Farminsnow
..that special breed of super woman who has helped build this country without asking for recognition.  Her life was not easy, but she had a loving husband and family to give her strength.  She raised four great children, had a long and happy marriage, and in her free moments, tatted, crocheted, and quilted. 

I will always remember the first time we met.  I sat next to her while she held her tatting shuttle and thread and her fingers just flew, all the while engaged in conversation.  I had seen Charles Kuralt do an  homage to the art of tatting...interviewing women around the country and surmising that this could become a lost art one day.  Armed with this inspiration, I sat next to her for four days, shuttle and thread in hand.  My father in law sat across the room watching me, telling me what I was doing wrong.  I persisted.  Hard head that I am, on day four I finally heeded his advice and succeeded.  I happily tatted an edging for my god daughter's christening gown, but never picked up the shuttle again.  One day, perhaps.  I've saved my little shuttle collection, as I have so many other things...a link to a past I long for.

Our time on the farm was brief, but was the wake up call I needed to remember what it means to be with family, especially during times like these.  Janssen
This is a strong family who has been farming in this area for many generations.  We spent some quiet time at the local cemetery, visiting the graves of a great grandfather who came to this country, long ago, from Germany and started his family's history in this country.  I saw a recent grave of a young man who most likely gave his life in Iraq, and the grave of someone's baby from long ago...their hopes and dreams for this child ending abruptly at such a young age. Babygrave
I saw the bleakness of winter there, and once caught a glimpse of the winter sun trying to break through...more reminders of how hard these families  work to keep their family farms  from ending up being countless more houses and subdivisions.  I stopped to photograph a neighboring barn to share with you. Whitebarn
I love barns and wish I could travel the country, at leisure, photographing those that are left.

I'm sure this new year holds lots of happiness and promise for all of us.  I see it as a new beginning for both Taos Sunflower and my own personal, creative desires.  I look forward to hearing from you, hearing about your own work, and yet again being inspired by the strength we have in our pursuits. 

Happy new year,


P.S.  Many thanks to Cheryl Krementz for the generous nod in the current issue of Vogue Knitting about this well as  my thanks to you for the support to keep me inspired to keep writing.


Teresa said...

Our thoughts & hearts are with both you & Roger in the loss of his mother. Being a farm girl myself, I loved reading your blog today.
Bob, Teresa & Halston

Kristin Freeman said...

Thank you for the beautifully written story of your mother-in-law. It was one that landed squarely in my heart and stayed with me throughout today. The pictures added texture and an image of place that afit perfectly with your words.
Like you, I have that collection of tatting shuttles and wonder if they will once again be in hand to create lace for towels and pillowcases.
My shawl is keeing me warm during this winter...far too many days with power so it will be another week before I can take the time, or dare to be connected with my camera to computer during these windstorms and chancy power.....I am using the laptop right now running on a battery and using the phone don't give up on getting the will be there.
Your grandson is a cutie...having two young grandchildren far from me it has been fun to create ways to communicate regularly in the mail. We have some great memories in those bits of shared writing. When they were smaller I made a ring of laminated photos of me, my cats, the river shwere I live, pictures of me with them....and keep adding new memory shots these days. Being bestemor is the greatest.
Back to your mother-in-law story - I have saved your photos and they bring some thoughts that will translate to writing as they perch above my writing space.
I look forward to every entry on your blog and am so thankful to be a part of your cyber fiber friends.

Bennie said...

Love that red hat!! Thanks for sharing your memories and I send hugs to you and Roger, Love, Bennie....and congratulations on the YMN article!! I still think you could have been on the cover in the grass skirt.....

Kay said...

Well,as Roger says, "the girl can write". Loved your piece and the barn photo. I see lots of wonderful old barns in Michigan in the summers but never a winter shot.
What YMN article?

Martie said...

Yarn Market News is an industry magazine that focuses on the business from a retailer's viewpoint. It's an invaluable tool for a lifeline to the bigger world...

HollyEQQ said...

That was beautiful. Just beautiful. You made my heart smile today - you are so special and I am so grateful to know you.
About 8 years ago, I went to visit my precious nephew. He is and will be the only child in our family so he is very special. After a ten day vacation, when it came time to leave, he looked up at me as only a two year old can do and said -
"don't leave Auntie Holly. You can sleep in my room and we can play trains."
I cried all the way home on the plane. The steward thought that someone in my family had died. It was a five hour flight back to DC. I decided on that flight that my life was about to change, even if I had to sell a kidney, and it is why I NOW live in Florida. He was in Texas but his Mimi lives here (my mom) so I knew that by being here I would see him a lot. And as fate had it, he (and my sister/BIL) moved here about a year after I did. He is part of my life - the biggest part - and I don't regret that choice for a second. They are only kids once.
Enjoy those moments....

Denise~ in Tulsa said...

Martie -
Condolences on your loss. It does sound as if you have many wonderful memories, which give strength.
The photos are lovely - I too have a love of barns, and the old one on our farm is a comforting sight - despite it's rough appearance.
Oh and Congrats on the clean table too!