It’s been a difficult year for our family. I’ve mentioned before that my Grandparents (my dad’s parents) passed away within less than four months of each other. Two of my husband’s Grandmas passed away this year also. Four grandparents within about seven months. That’s a lot of loss.
My Grandma Kindlespire (my kids called her Grandma Sally) was the Queen of Craftiness. She loved to cross stitch and crochet, among many other projects. And I’m pretty sure I can credit her with my love of stitching things. I have a vivid memory of her teaching me how to knot my embroidery thread when I was about 8 years old. She wrapped it around her finger and rubbed her finger and thumb together and a knot magically appeared. It took me a lot of practice to get that move down, but that’s exactly how I knot my own thread to this day. And I often think of her as I do so.
I wanted to do something to commemorate this year in as positive a way as possible; as our children have had to say goodbye to so many Great Grandparents. After Grandma Sally passed away, my sister found a collection of small cross-stitch patterns for forest creatures (these are the same brand, but I don’t see the exact pattern listed) at Grandma’s little house in Iowa. She also found some Aida cloth that Grandma had started a project on. I felt like this would be the perfect way to remember a difficult year, by making something cute and little for each of my kids to cherish each year as they place their ornaments on the Christmas tree.
I chose an animal that corresponds to each of my four kids and stitched it up for them in a 3″ hoop. Edith is tiny and has the most adorable giant front teeth, so hers is a little mouse; we often call Elijah “Elijah Bear”, so his is a bear; Ethan found a moose skull on a backpacking trip with my husband this past summer, so his is a moose; and Ellie thought the fox was super cute, so that’s what I stitched for her. I’ll probably make one for myself and my husband as well, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
I wrote a quick note telling them about where the pattern and cloth came from, and why I chose the particular animal for them and I added it as backing to the hoop, to cover up the back of my work and make it look a little more finished. I also attached some red yarn to the hoop to hang it with. I love making ornaments for my kids each year. It’s become a tradition that I look forward to for months ahead of time. And this year I’m grateful to add a little extra meaning to their ornaments.
I’m also incredibly grateful for my testimony that families are forever. Saying goodbye to loved ones is heartbreaking, but having the knowledge that goodbye is not the end has been a daily comfort to our family these past few months.