When I was growing up, both of my grandmothers were a big part of my life. My parents relied on Nana, my mom’s mom, and Grandma, my dad’s mom, to be our babysitters on the rare occasions they went somewhere. Every holiday and every person’s birthday were celebrated at Nana’s house. 293005_10200932353292377_631694589_n378110_10200932556977469_1000930412_n

The summer I was fourteen, my parents traveled to Europe. Nana stayed at our house during the week, and Grandma came for the weekends. During that summer, both of my grandmothers played endless games of Go Fish, Sorry, and Old Maid. They taught me how to make some family recipes.

Nana taught me to crochet. I wanted to learn because she made so many beautiful things for me and the rest of my family.

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I spent hours sitting next to Nana while she patiently taught me how to do the basics. She didn’t let me learn a new thing until I practiced enough to make a chain or a square of single or double crochet perfectly. Soon I could read patterns and made my own shawls, vests (yes, granny vests were all the rage in the early 1970s), and even afghans.

I don’t have any of the things I made as a teenager, but I treasure the afghans she made for me and later for my daughters when they were born.

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When Nana passed away, I wanted the rest of her great-grandchildren to have a crocheted set of a blanket, sweater, booties, and caps. Nana learned to crochet from her mother, who I never got to meet.  Mom talks about her, and I have a few things she crocheted. Family heirlooms.

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I liked the idea of being the next generation of women in my family who crocheted and made pretty, but useful, things for people I love. When each of my own grandchildren were born I crocheted baby blankets, hats, booties, and sweaters for each of them.

My grandchildren are thirteen, eleven, and ten now, and my skills are a little rusty. Several years ago, I made an afghan for my daughter. The entire thing was crooked. It looked ridiculous. Between the shoddy workmanship and my need for a lot more light to do anything these days, I stopped even trying to crochet.

But in two weeks both of my granddaughters will spend a week with me. For part of that time we’ll continue a tradition from my husband’s family: sailing to Catalina and enjoying life swimming, boating, and hiking on the island. The boat is a tiny space for three growing kids and sometimes they need more to do than swim.  My grandson is easy to entertain. He loves to play Sorry and Phase Ten, but the girls prefer crafts. Messy is not a good thing on a boat with six people.

It’s time to venture back into the crocheting world. I want to pass on the tradition Nana gave to me. Yesterday I bought a book, Cool Stuff: Teach Me to Crochet and supplies so I can share this gift with my granddaughters.

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Between now and then, I’ll practice the projects myself. I can’t have shoddy work to use as examples. IMG_2539

 

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Whether Katie and Robyn take up crocheting doesn’t matter as much as the time I invest in people I love, just the way Nana and Grandma did with me. Family traditions keep families close. They let us remember the past while creating new memories. Just as much as heirlooms, memories are precious things. Treasures from God. Worth keeping for generations.

Linking up with Simply Beth-Three Word Wednesday today.

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