This story is a repeat if you caught it on Instagram, but what I find challenging about Instagram is that once the moment passes, it’s hard to find something again. Or if you miss “Instagram world” for a few days, you’ll likely never catch up. Which is not to say that you haaaave to. But I wanted to share this story here too because it means so much to me. A little thing that made me smile. And cry. And then smile again. My Grammy passed away about 2 years ago, not long after I’d found out I was pregnant with our third child. About a year ago her sewing kit and another box of supplies made their way to my house. I put them away – in sight – but I didn’t dig in because I didn’t think I was ready.
The week before last I ordered a ream of copy paper. I chose a salmon color just like the paper she always had in her desk and would let me use as much of it as I liked. I used to pretend to be a teacher – I created files for each of my imaginary students and filled out report cards and disciplinary notes for them. I liked rules and apparently paperwork at the time. :) When the new paper arrived it made me feel happy and spring-y. I hadn’t seen it or thought about it in a decade or more, but it was one of those flashback moments where you feel like you’re 9 again.
Then a few days ago I decided it was finally time to go looking through her sewing kit. I’d been hand finishing the binding on the Giant Rainbow Quilt for 3 or 4 evenings and was killing my finger uselessly. The backing fabric has a white on white surface print that’s thick and challenging to hand sew, so, really, a thimble would be so helpful. Pretty silly that I’d put it off for so long already. It’s the kind of thing Grammy would have looked over my shoulder to see and said “Suuuusaaaan, please use a thimble so you’re not hurting yourself” in her happy helpful voice. She always had a happy helpful voice and it made her upset to see anyone doing anything that looked uncomfortable.
When I opened it I picked up a pile of lace she’d reclaimed from something. She was one of the many very thrifty depression-surviving Grammys out there. And under the lace, I found this:
Her needles. Carefully kept together on a scrap of the same salmon colored copy paper she loved. I found the thimble too, and used it to finish the binding. Feeling grateful that her tools are here and that she was so encouraging of me. I still have about half a sewing kit and a whole box of her other supplies that I’m not ready to explore yet. I want to leave them all exactly the way she put them there as if that will help make a memory a reality again. And I’ll let my girls do all the scribbling they like on our new copy paper. She’d have loved that.