My husband and I have been married almost 30 years. It shocks me to realize I have been a part of his family for that long – doesn't seem like it has been three decades! However, one of the best parts of his family that I was able to experience was his grandmother – or as she was lovingly called, Mamaw. Because my grandparents were all gone way too soon – before I really had a chance to know them – she adopted me as one of her own.
Mamaw was self sufficent from way back. She didn't need books telling her how to be "green" or "organic" – she just was! She planted a garden, canned the resulting produce, sewed clothes and other home needs, and crocheted gifts for everyone, including grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even several great-great-grandchildren! By the time I joined the family, Mamaw wasn't doing much sewing or canning as she was far too busy mowing her grass and helping out her family members who needed help, as well as helping to care for my father-in-law who was terminally ill. However, she was still crocheting constantly. During the few times she was sitting down, she immediately picked up her crochet work to finish the current afghan, the current Christmas ornament, the current dishcloth, etc.
My beautiful adopted "Mamaw."
Mamaw was sweet and patient enough to help me learn how to improve my crochet skills. My godmother, who was a wonderful woman, taught a less than excited 9-year-old girl how to crochet. I did a make a couple things, but then it fell by the wayside when high school, college and boys entered the picture. After I was married, though, and met Mamaw, I realized how much I would enjoy being able to make beautiful gifts for people on our newly married limited budget.
My latest crochet project.
Mamaw showed me many new stitches – a triple crochet, a half-double crochet, a chevron, and others. She never tired of my constant questions, or at least she never showed me any frustration. She was always willing to look at my work, exclaim with pride over its beauty, and encourage me to continue working on whatever new project I had.
The double crochet stitch Mamaw helped me perfect.
Because of Mamaw's encouragement, my two daughters learned how to crochet as well and have used those skills to make gorgeous, lovingly handcrafted gifts when their wallets were empty. I believe this is one of the best testimonies to loving, close, connected families – watching each generation being taught by previous generations and moving forward to use those skills.
Mamaw passed away two weeks ago, and she leaves a huge hole in our family. We all miss her deeply – but all I need to do is look at my latest crochet project in my bag, or any of the many that my daughters are working on, to know that her spirit and her gifts will live on in our family forever. I just wish I could tell her "thank you" one more time!