Monday, December 3, 2007

Sweet Moments!

When I was a little girl, I used to watch my grandmother knit and knit and knit. She was always making baby outfits and donating them to the church. Sweaters, booties, hats, mittens. She even knitted outfits for my Barbie dolls!

Grandma's parents came over from Italy in 1914. My grandmother made the trip as well (though she wasn't aware of it) - she was actually conceived in Italy, but born here in the US. I just remember their house being all Italian growing up. It didn't matter what time of day you showed up, Granddaddy would open the door hollering (he never talked, he always shouted!) "Who's there?" and Grandma would be coming around the corner from the kitchen "Can I get you some cookies? crackers? I can warm up some leftovers." And upon leaving, my sweet little Grandma was always slipping me 20 dollar bills.

This is a picture of my mom with Grandma and Grandaddy on her wedding day.

This is me with my Grandma. I was 18 months old. The same age Austin and Logan are now.

One day when I was around 10 years old or so, as Grandma was knitting, I asked as I always did, "What are you making now Grandma?" This time, she held up an adorable little sweater and said "I'm making this one for one of your babies, Donna. By the time you start having babies, I probably won't be able to knit anymore. So I'm going to start making you lots and lots of outfits now."

I was Italian and Catholic. So, naturally, I assumed I'd have a house full of children by the time I was 23! I had always dreamed of a large family, 7-8 kids! So, away Grandma knitted for me. It seemed every week, she would hold up a blanket or a sweater or something and say, "This one's going into your box, Donna."

Grandma stopped knitting around 1987, the same year I graduated high school. Her eye sight had gotten very bad and she was actually in the early stages of Alzheimer's/Senility. By the mid-nineties, she didn't recognize me, but she always knew who her daughter (my mom) was and she remained sweet, sweet, sweet to the end. And she kept on "knitting," her hands never stopped the "motion."

During my twenties and early thirties, I would stumble across those boxes she had filled to the rim for me. In my twenties, I would sort through them with glee imagining my future little ones in them. By the time I was thirty, they were "burning a whole in the attic" - a painful reminder of my childlessness. I had even begun picking out a few precious outfits and sharing them with my special friends as they had children. I just couldn't see all of Grandma's hard work "going to waste."

Then, I met Gary and he also filled my life with two very special, adorable boys. As I focused on my family, I sort of forgot about the box of baby clothes.

Then, I'm not sure if the year long wait for Austin and Logan kept us so busy and occupied that we just never got around to the boxes or if I just knew that as the months and months went by and we were no closer to coming home that I had again missed my opportunity to outfit "babies." As you know, we brought Austin and Logan home July 4th of this year. And who thinks about "knitted" clothes in the middle of summer?

My cousin also had a baby girl this summer. As the weather changed, Mom mentioned the boxes of clothes to me again. We wanted to make sure my cousin had some of Grandma's knitted clothes for her baby. I asked Gary to bring down the boxes from the attic once again. This time, though there was no sadness. No emptiness. I am so happy and blessed. My life is so full and so complete that I only felt the tiniest bit of regret at the lost opportunity for my children to wear randma's clothes. I need to find a way to honor my grandmother's work, maybe save the clothes for grandchildren? For future generations? I left that thought to be solved another day. For now, just having the memory of my Grandma's love and labor that she put into all those clothes over the years is precious enough.

My Grandma passed away on January 5, 2003, and I was surprised to find that I actually "had" her again. For years, when I went to visit and her brain was no longer in the "current" I was a "nurse, a friend" or anyone else my Grandma thought of. Sometimes I could even get her to talk about her childhood or some other time in her life. She always spoke of it in the current and the details were very vivid. However, when she passed, I suddenly found that I could talk to her again. Through the years of infertility treatments and then the heartbreaking months of waiting for Austin and Logan, I talked to her often. I knew she was watching us and I knew she was there for me praying just as hard as I was.

So, as I opened up the boxes this week and once again started sorting through the many outfits now spread throughout the nursery, imagine my surprise as I found some boys sweaters made just for toddlers? Imagine my continued surprise to find matching outfits?? How did she know about the twins? Tears of joy spread down my face as I unpacked sweater after sweater that my boys can wear now! How did I not remember that there were larger sweaters in the boxes?

It's absolutely freezing here, so I immediately dressed the boys up. Here are some pictures from our first photo shoot:

Don't they look just precious!!

I sent some of the photos to Mom on e-mail, but didn't tell her what was coming. She, too rejoiced at the sight of finally seeing her Grandchildren snuggled up in their Great-Grandmother's love!

I have a total of EIGHT sweaters that they can wear this season!! Three of them are MATCHING sets! I cannot begin to express the magnitude of my happiness. But at this point in my life, I can say that I am not the least bit surprised at yet another miracle being dropped in my lap!

We love you Grandma!! Thanks for the beautiful sweaters made with all your care and tenderness and love and the many years of hard work and thoughtfulness that you put into each stitch!


Auntie G said...

Donna, that was such an awesome post!! To have something from Great-Grandma made specially for your boys before you even knew about them . . . mind-boggling!!

Bobbi said...


The boys are adorable!

Steph said...

Oh Donna! I have tears streaming down my cheeks. Wow. Through all the heartache, the disappointments, and the waiting, it is so hard to see that there is a greater plan at work. But, when we get through it, the plan slowly starts to reveal itself. Those sweaters are a testament to this plan. How wonderful!!!

ManyBlessings said...

Awww....that is the most precious story. What a legacy of love.

Our Family of 5 said...

OH Donna, I am crying! What a blessing your grandma is! What a great story that you can pass down to them. And how darn cute do they look in their sweaters and hats. I wanna just eat them up! Thanks for sharing your story with all of us in Blogger Land!

Katie said...

That is the most adorable amazing story -- thanks for sharing !!!

Tam said...

What a great story. I got chills when you said there were larger sizes and matching sets to boot! The boys look so adorable in those sweaters and hats!

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Donna said...

Great story and memories. I found your blog through Sunbeams. Your kids are so cute. We brought home our babies on the same day!

Happy Holidays,


Jonathan said...

What a great story!!!! You made me cry.
The pictures of the boys are just wonderful!

Has anyone told you that you look like your grandmother??? I can totally see your face (in hers) in the photo where she is holding you.

Give the boys hugs and kisses from us!

XOXOXO- Robin & Mira

Melissa said...

Donna, this is a tremendous story of God's faithfulness and His perfect plan. Wow! Austin and Logan are absolutely adorable in the matching sweaters and hats.

Lou said...

SWEETEST STORY EVAH!!! Sniff sniff....Your Grandma just KNEW!

Greta Jo said...

Donna, What a touching post. Wow, its amazing how are family members touch are hearts in such special ways. Your boys are handsome. You did a wonderful job on the hats and sweaters.

Scarlett_333 said...

Hi Donna- just wanted to make sure you got my email regarding the blog makeover!

Melissa said...

What an amazing story. God planned these boys for your family all along - and maybe somehow your grandma knew. This is such a testament of God's plan! Amazing. Enjoy your boys in their sweaters from grandma!!