BY: Winona SmithIt was a spring Saturday, and though many activities clamored for my attention, I had chosen this time to sit and crochet, an activity I enjoyed but had once thought impossible.
Most of the time I don’t mind being a “lefty” - - I’m quite proud of it, actually. But I admit, it did cause me a few problems three years ago, when I wanted to help out with a project at church.
We were invited to crochet baby blankets, which would be donated to a local crisis pregnancy center at Christmas. I wanted to participate but I knew nothing about how to crochet, and my left-handedness didn’t help. I had trouble “thinking backwards.”
I suppose where there is a will, there is a way, because a few of the ladies got together and taught me one stitch. That’s all I needed. I learned that granny stitch, and before long I had a blanket made. I was so proud of my little accomplishment and it seemed, inexplicably, so important, that I made quite a few more that same year. I even included in each blanket, as a note of encouragement, a poem I had written that read:
Little girls are sweet in their ruffles all pink.
Little boys in overalls look divine.
But no matter which one the Lord gives to you,
A better “Mom” he never could find.
All of a sudden, my thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of my telephone. I hurried to answer it, and to my surprise and delight, on the other end of the line was Karen Sharp, who had been one of my very best friends ever since elementary school. Karen, her husband, Jim, and their daughter, Kim, had moved away a few years ago. She was calling to say that she was in town for a couple of days and would like to come by. I was thrilled to hear her voice.
At last the doorbell rang. As I flung open the door, we both screamed, as if back in junior high. We hugged each other. Then questions began to fly. Finally, I guided Karen into the kitchen, where I poured a cool glass of tea for both of us and the conversation slowed.
To my delight, Karen seemed to be calm, rested and, most of all, self-assured, which were a few qualities that she had seemed to lose during the last few months before they moved away. I wondered what had caused the positive change.
As we talked and reminisced, Karen began to explain to me the true reasons for her family’s move a few years ago. The original reason they had given me was that Jim had a job offer in another city, which they could not afford to pass up. Even though it was Kim’s senior year in high school, they still felt it necessary to make the move. Apparently, that had not been the biggest reason.
Karen reached into her purse and pulled out a photograph. When she handed it to me, I saw it was a beautiful little girl - - maybe about two or three years old.
“This is my granddaughter, Kayla,” Karen said.
I couldn’t believe my ears. “You’re a grandmother?” I asked. “I don’t understand.”
“You see,” Karen went on, “Kim was a few months pregnant when we moved away. We had just found out, and Kim was having a really rough time dealing with it - - she even talked about suicide. We were frantic. So we decided to move away, hoping that she would adjust more easily. When we finally settled in our new home, we hoped that Kim’s outlook would begin to improve, but she became more and more depressed. No matter what we said, she felt worthless and like a failure. Then we found a woman named Mrs. Barber, a wonderful pregnancy counselor. She got Kim through some very tough times.
“As the time for delivery came closer, Kim still had not entirely made up her mind about whether to keep the baby or not. Her father and I prayed that she would. We felt prepared to give the baby a loving home - - it was, after all, our first grandchild!
“Finally, the day came, and Kim had a six-pound, six-ounce baby girl. Mrs. Barber came to visit her in the hospital. She hugged Kim and told her how proud she was of her. Then she gave Kim a pastel-colored package containing a hand-crocheted baby blanket inside.”
At this point, I felt a huge lump come into my throat, and I felt rather limp all over, but I tried not to show my feelings and kept listening to Karen’s story.
Karen must have noticed the look on my face. She asked if I was all right. I assured her I was fine and asked her to please continue.
“As I said,” she went on, “there was a baby blanket and a little personal note, something about little girls and their ruffles, little boys and their overalls, and a word of encouragement about becoming a new mom.
“We asked who made the blanket, and Mrs. Barber explained that some of the pregnancy centers have people who donate these blankets to new mothers and their babies. Her center was given the surplus from one of the other centers in the state, and she was glad to have one for Kim.
“Kim was so moved by the fact that a total stranger had thought enough to put this much time and effort into a blanket for her baby. She said it made her feel warm all over. She later told her dad and me that the little poem gave her a boost of confidence and helped her to make up her mind to keep little Kayla.”
Karen’s story had an even happier ending: A year later, Kim was married to a young man who loves both her and Kayla with all his heart. Karen grinned as she told me, then sobered. “My only regret is that I did not feel close enough to our friends here to have been able to lean on you all for support and comfort, instead of turning away.
“We are so thankful for so many things - - especially the way everything turned out; but I think the one thing that we are the most thankful for is that kind person who made that little baby blanket for our daughter and her baby. I just wish I could give her a big hug and tell her how much she is loved and appreciated by our family.”
I looked again at the photo of the sweet child in my hands. Then I leaned over to Karen and gave her a big hug.
Remember we all can use that hug, especially the little ones. Here are some free patterns both for crochet and knitting. Contact your pregnancy crisis chapter or health center to donate items or better yet to teach a wonderful skill to a young mom.
Baby Afghans to Crochet, Baby Afghans to Knit