I confess: I am a hopeless romantic who loves stories which end, “…and they lived happily ever after.” I know that real life is far different, and perhaps because I know first hand the reality of my brokenness in body and spirit, happy endings make me smile. Actually, I think they remind me of the very real hope I have of heaven and its truly happily forever. With that background, perhaps a personal fairy tale will make you smile.
Once upon a time, way back in the 70s, Dave and I told our little two-year-old named Brent,”You are soon going to be a big brother.” Sadly, Brent’s Grandpa Baker would not survive brain cancer to meet his second grandchild, a baby expected to arrive in July.
During my first pregnancy, I had knitted a lavender baby sweater and hat, so for this much-anticipated new baby, I searched for my knitting needles and patterns and decided to knit a yellow baby sweater. This sunny color, suitable for either a boy or girl, helped me think about my Dad, particularly on the days I missed him most. The color yellow suited those pre-sonogram days when mommies and daddies didn’t know a baby’s gender before the doctor announced the news in the delivery room!
With a due date of July 15, I taught high school English and Spanish until June 17th. I felt sure that a whole month would allow plenty of time to wallpaper the nursery, refinish the rocking chair, wash all the newborn clothes, and finish knitting the baby sweater and hat. Surprise! Bryan arrived on July 1, not July 15, While the wallpapering, refinishing, and washing got done on time, the sweater, three-quarters complete, lay in its Lee Wards’ bag.
Fast forward this story to 2008 when retirement forced Dave and me to downsize the house we had lived in for 28 years because we anticipated moving to our log cabin in the woods. In with an abundance of craft bags, one canvas bag held the partially finished yellow baby sweater. The needles, counters for the trim, and the collar stitches on a holder were still in place; the pattern, written in long hand on the back of a manilla envelope, sat in the same Lee Wards’ bag; the yarn was still in great condition.Hmmm, an incomplete project for my now 35-year-old son!
Have you ever downsized a house? I used a system of labeled piles in the process, including “keep,” “give away,” and “throw away” Sound simple? It’s not! For instance, I came across the partially finished baby sweater and had to question whether I even remembered how to knit and purl. Would I ever pick up this project and complete it? But for some reason, perhaps sheer sentiment, the bag transferred to the cabin, to be rediscovered in late spring of 2012, shortly after the news came that Stacey and Bryan would welcome a baby boy to their family in the fall.
Out came the knitting, along with a call to Crystal. “Can you re-teach me to knit so I can finish this baby sweater?”
“Come on over and I’ll lend you some basic books. Then you can practice on some yarn as you remember how to knit, purl, cast on, pick up dropped stitches and cast off. Once you’ve done that, you can complete the sweater,” came Crystal’s ready reply.
The sweetest part of the knitting process was the privilege of offering prayers for this baby boy with the individual stitches that grew row upon row. May this child be Yours, Lord. P;ease allow Dave and me to pray daily for his growth in spiritual matters and share the Scriptures with him. His parents planned to name him Tyler David, so each prayer this Grandma whispered with the emerging pattern was attached to a child she prayed would hear God’s call on his life.
Tyler David arrived on September 24, 2012, at 12:51 am Hawaii time. A couple of weeks later, this grandma put down her glasses and packed the completed sweater in the suitcase headed to Honolulu in November. Tonight, while stroking Tyler’s silky red hair and inhaling the intoxicating baby-soap smell of this handsome boy, I presented the yellow sweater to Tyler’s parents, Bryan and Stacey. Yes, after 35 years, this story had a happy ending, the type Grandma likes best.