A Stitch Down Memory Lane

I’ve been cross-stitching a lot more lately.

I know, it sounds like a somewhat strange hobby for a 20-something Spartan running, mud crawling, city girl to have. But I have a history with cross-stitch. My Meme taught me how.

I am the only granddaughter on my dad’s side of the family. To say I was spoiled by my grandmother is probably the understatement of the century. But, and I’m sure you’re shocked, I loved it. And I loved my Meme.

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Being the only girl also meant that I sometimes got a little “special treatment.” No, not that way, I just got to spend more special girl time with Meme. And one of those ways was learning to sew. My Meme made it her mission to teach me the art of sewing that she was so very good at. She learned quickly that I wasn’t exactly what you’d call “gifted” at this art, but I was able to get the hang of cross-stitch down pretty well. And I loved it. But mostly I just loved doing it with my Meme. She used to get those “grandmother and I” patterns, and I have many vivid memories of sitting in the living room holding tightly to her careful directions. And although I rarely actually finished a pattern (my grandparents would fly back home, I’d lose it, she’d bring another one next visit, rinse and repeat…) I definitely still have those memories.

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As I grew up I lost touch with my cross-stitching. My family moved back to Vermont and those special visits lived right down the road now, not states away. Then school, friends, social events and whatever else I could find to do started taking the place of those quiet times. And then life really continued to march on. I graduated:

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Got married:

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And then moved out of state again. My time became filled with my new husband and puppy, not to mention juggling two jobs. But time passed as it always does, and eventually I found myself back in Vermont.

Just in time to watch my Meme get sick.

The focus now became helping her, my grandfather, and my parents. Balancing work and a husband, and still trying to maintain some pieces of a “normal” life.

Then my Meme lost the battle.

And as time marched on yet again, my grandfather started sifting through the memories stored in the basement. Looking through the past so as to proceed to whatever the future might bring.

One of the many things he found were large cardboard boxes. Boxes stuffed full of patterns. Cross-stitch patterns. Some mostly finished, some hardly started, some laid away for a rainy day or special occasion that never quite came around. Apparently the art of starting a new pattern before finishing the current one is an inherited trait. But opening that box was like opening pieces of my past. Memories laid away for my own “rainy” day. A day that did come around for me.

So I’m cross-stitching more now.

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It brings me back to those not so distant memories of sitting on the couch patiently (and sometimes not so patiently…) pulling stitches out as Meme, in her always patient way, instructed me on how to do better. Watching her take great care to lay out and organize every piece before starting, and teaching me how to do the same.

I am cross-stitching more now.

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It makes me feel closer to my Meme. It gives me a moment stolen from yesterday, to carry on what my Meme used to love so much. And taught me to also.

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