July 05, 2016
My mom has a hope chest at the foot of her bed filled with preserved heirlooms. When I found out I was expecting, we sat on her bedroom floor as she withdrew baby clothes and accessories, saved in anticipation of her grandchildren. Among them were beautiful crocheted pieces that her mother, my Grandma Corcoran, created for my sisters and me, and clothes and booties that my Dad’s grandmother, my Great Nana, knit for me just before she passed away. Mom also saved the clothes and accessories that she made when she was a young mother. Holding these items, I felt connected to my grandmothers who are no longer here and could picture my mother expecting me 35 years ago. Thinking about the time and love that went into making each piece, choosing the yarns and patterns, sitting and creating in anticipation of a new baby that would soon join the family, I found myself both nostalgic for the past and excited for the future.
Mom recently finished a baby bunting, which is like a sleep sack, for my son using a pattern of her mother’s. Grandma’s version is saved in the hope chest, but Mom wanted to make a new one for her grandson. They are identical, save the stains that my sisters and I added to the original. Mom is now working on a beachy-colored baby blanket for the nursery and a large, colorful blanket that will be put down on the floor for my son’s tummy and play time. We picked out the yarn for these blankets at Knitting Niche, a charming shop in Ocean City, New Jersey, with the help of its knowledgeable owner, Vicki. Mom has always sourced her yarn and found help with ideas and patterns from local knitting stores, and we are lucky that a few great ones are within a quick drive.
As one of my bridal shower gifts, Mom knit a large white pillow for my husband and me. Three sides of it are stitched together with a silk ribbon. When the ribbon is removed, the pillow will transform into a baby blanket, representing the first of many special items she has knit for her grandson. Now in my third trimester, it is almost time to give these priceless presents to my son, along with the new items I have made for him.
Ever since I was young, I felt gratified by creating something with my hands. Those feelings are heightened knowing that what I am knitting will be worn and used by my baby boy. As I work the yarn, I am doing more than making gifts for my son. I am connecting with the incredible women in my family. I am binding generations through handmade traditions.