When I was a younger woman than I am now, I envisioned my fifties as a kind of nirvana with all the lattes I could drink. It would be a well-earned reprieve; an opportunity to catch my breath before reaching sixty. I did not know that I and my friends from third grad would be following in our mothers’ footsteps.
But that is not what my fifties have been like. Instead, they have been like a marathon that I have to run without knowing what the course looks like, how long it is, or where it goes. From many of the Facebook status updates I have seen, many of the people I have known since childhood have found that the middle-age years can be interesting, and that a lot of times we don’t get to choose what kind of interesting they are.
Such has been the case for my friend from third grade (the same one mentioned in this blog post from October of 2013).
In less than twenty-four months time two important people in her life passed away; each loss necessitating a move, and yesterday while I was on one coast putting together dinner after a day spent discovering which color combinations and orders of colors would not work for the second ten-round granny square for my current granny square bag, my friend was going through some of the boxes from her recent uphevals when she came across this gem:
It was made by her mother and reminded her of (as she put it) my “current study of the granny square.”
I wasted no time in texting her back; “It’s gorgeous!”
My friend’s mother was the age my friend and I are now when she passed away. She did not get to enjoy either a middle-age nirvana or an interesting mid-life marathon that would carry her through to sixty.
But she did make this blanket, most likely using scraps of yarn that came to her from her mother-in-law, and the blanket has survived and carried her story forward.
At my behest, my friend from third grade took the time to get photo of the project in it’s entirety:
complete with my friend’s feet — which are another legacy of her mother’s.
My friend’s mother has been gone for many years now, but the same hands that held my friend as a baby and baked cookies throughout her childhood, also made each of these squares, wove in the ends and then joined them together, and so while my friend’s mother has been physically absent for over thirty years now, my friend can still wrap herself in this outward expression of her mother’s love.