With Easter weekend upon us I found myself reminiscing. My two Omas lived in Germany; one near Hanover and the other in Neu-Ulm. When I was a little girl, the way we distinguished between them was that one knitted and the other crocheted. Each of them actually did both, but they each had their preference.
Leading up to Easter, we could always expect a parcel from each of them.
- One would include colourful crocheted dresses made up of what I called the “birthday cake stitch”
- and the other a knitted sweater or cardigan.
Each would also contain some candies and other little trinkets that were not available in Canada. Besides the anticipation of simply opening the parcels, I remember feeling breathless as I waited to see what my Easter dress would look like.
To me, as a young girl, the fact that both Omas always got my size right was nothing less than magical. I honestly believed they had supernatural powers that allowed them to always send something perfect for each of the five of us kids. In hindsight, my mother obviously talked to them and told them what we would like and what our sizes were. When I would gush to mommy about how amazing it was, she would just smile.
Never once did she unravel that mystery.
I’m so glad that she didn’t.
I remember a tiny change purse that looked like a lady bug, Maoam chewy candies in a great big Costco sized bag (these would be doled out throughout the whole year). Pastel coloured candy-covered chocolates and Nürnberger Lebkuchen. But mostly it was about the dresses for me. My mother knitted every day from the time I can remember until the day Alzheimer’s took it from her. She had arthritis in her hands and that hour of knitting first thing in the morning was how she kept her hands from seizing up.
I knew how long it took to make a garment out of balls of yarn. I knew how much work it was.
Even though I rarely got to see my Omas in person, I knew without a doubt that they loved me. Only someone who really loved me would put that much time into making something out of yarn in my favourite colours, just for me.
And now, I carry on that tradition. I show my love for my family through my knitting. And they know how long it takes; and they know that only someone who really loves them would put that much time into making something out of yarn just for them.