Birthday Boy

I’m running a little behind, I know.  I should have shown you Elliot’s Sweater last week, and then yesterday we could have talked about Easter (what a weird one, eh?) and then today I should be showing you some spinning that I’m about to get to, plus I’m fixing a pair of socks for Cam and I finished a pair for Joe and Ken’s sweater continues apace – though progress on everything is slower than you’d expect from me. If there is one thing I’ve learned about grief over the last couple of years is that it’s actually quite time consuming.  I don’t know why, but working through so many feelings just… slows everything down around it, and I have such a smorgasbord of things to fret about.  I’m slogging on best I can, and I think I’m doing okay – a lot better than I was three weeks ago, when it felt like all the bombs were landing.

Three weeks ago when I decided that Elliot should have a birthday sweater, I logged into Ravelry, looked at my queue to see what I’d had in mind, was immediately buried in the million things I had planned for Charlotte, and realized it was far, far too soon for it, and opted for an alternate approach.  I shut my laptop and grabbed a book of my shelf,  looked for the simplest sweater in it, and got to work. I know! A BOOK. Can you believe it? Not even a pdf, or a Kindle version but an actual I swear to in the name of all things woolly book. Made of paper.

The closest book I had to hand was Strange Brew– and I’ve knit Tin Can Knits sweaters before and the directions are always clear and easy to follow – the perfect thing for the grief addled mind.  Meg was here then, and together we chose Mountain MIst, and I foraged some Cascade 220 out of the lower stash.

Here you must imagine a picture of that sweater in progress, though I just checked my phone and camera and there are none. (Sorry, it’s been a weird few weeks.)

I finished in plenty of time for his birthday, and Joe took it over to his house along with all his other gifts, and left them outside for his Daddy to collect. You all know how the rest of this goes – I think we’re all in some form of lockdown or another, so at that point Joe left for home, and the task of making a beautiful birthday fell to Meg and Alex alone. (I feel not a bit bad about the trip Joe made to their house, I know it’s essential travel only, but they live so close and doesn’t a birthday seem essential? He dropped some groceries at the same time so that the total number of trips up wasn’t greater.)

After that it was all FaceTime and videos, Joe and I got to watch him open his sweater in the morning and wish him a Happy Birthday, and I helped Meg make his favourite dinner over video too. (Pasta and chickpeas, in case anyone is keeping track)

and then that evening the whole family got on and were able to sing to him and watch him open his presents.

His sweater fits, but barely, even though this grandmother made it what looked to me like miles too big and that makes me feel like maybe he’s growing while I’m not with him – getting taller – will it be a shock when I finally get to hold him again, whenever that is?

(By the way, that is a number three, not a backwards E.  It took me a minute.)

Best not to think of it, and just keep plugging on.

I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that he’s so little that his birthday was a complete wonder to him, and the rest of us are old enough to handle it. I think. I am incredibly proud of his parents for pulling this off, in the most difficult of all possible circumstances.  They are simply the best.

PS He got a scooter.  His life is aces.

113 thoughts on “Birthday Boy

  1. Happy Birthday to Elliot! His parents (and grandparents) are just the best for pulling this together and making it a splendid day for him. That scooter – definitely the best present ever!

  2. Happy birthday to Elliot. Being three is huge! Thank you for sharing this with The Blog. I know we all still are holding you and your family in our hearts, and are grateful when you are able to share with us. Be safe. Be well.

  3. Happy Birthday to Elliott! What a happy boy!

    Time feels rather elastic these days which makes it just as hard to handle when it seems in short supply. Giving ourselves and each other time and space to be whatever we need to be in any given moment is important.

  4. Happy Birthday to Elliot! What a beautiful sweater. He is so grownup!!!
    Give yourself lots of grace.
    Be safe. Stay off the scooter. 🙂

  5. First, a belated Happy Birthday to a most awesome 3-year-old sweater model! Second, the sweater looks good, but you’re right — either it shrunk or Elliot’s growing like kudzu. Third, aren’t you glad you didn’t have to dig out the clay tablets in order to find a sweater pattern?

    Finally, please remember that The Blog is pulling for you, Meg, Alex, and the rest of the bunch. You will all get through this.

  6. Oh his precious face! His heart is full of joy. I’m reaching out to embrace all of you at this time. (virtually. In a responsible social distancing way. Because in reality, it would be weird for this stranger to approach any of you and say, I’m just a faceless blog name and I care for you all. ❤️)

  7. As ever, thank you for including us in the heart-felt times of your life.
    That last photo is just wonderful. (As is the sweater)

  8. He’s a wonderful boy with amazing parents! Happy birthday to Elliot!

    My youngest (12½ yo) has grown a LOT this past month. Even beeing with him every hour of every day, I’m astonished. My parents will be too, once we finally get to see them again.

  9. Emotion is a very strange thing.
    Although I was extremely sad and shocked to read about your perfect Charlotte Bonnie, I didn’t cry. Or when your mum died, though I felt for you. On the other hand, this post about Elliot’s birthday had me in floods. I don’t know why – it doesn’t resonate with any personal experience.
    It’s the same with books and films. The really awful happenings affect me, sometimes acutely, but they don’t make the tears come whereas the lovely happenings and kind acts or words do.
    I’m not sure what that says about me – probably that I’m deeply weird, but I sincerely hope that even though it will stay with you all for a lifetime, Charlotte’s short presence soon settles into a soft, cocooned corner of your memories.

    • Did you know when you accidently press the wrong button when trying to post, you get a message, “you failed the human verification test…”

      What a hoot!

  10. Elliot is so totally charming, and a lovely big photo ham, he’s got to be a huge comfort to his mum and dad.

    We too celebrated a video birthday, but for an 11 year old. He, too, thought it was the berries. But he got an ice cream cake all to himself, so no wonder. Because the shops where we usually purchase a birthday gift were, and remain, closed, we settled for sending university themed pencils, decals and tattoos, with a promise to make it up ASAP. You’d have thought we sent him a pot of gold—he’s using the pencils for his online school.

    What in the world is right with children today?

  11. For some reason today I was reminded of a beautiful song I heard the Wailin; Jennys perform live a few years ago. One of the singers had a small child at the time and she told us she wrote the song as part of figuring out how to talk to him about loss. I think it might resonate with your family right now. Here’s a YouTube link:

  12. Happy birthday to Elliot!! Despite the circumstances you all pulled off a pretty good bday! And please don’t feel that you need to apologize for not having things done or for not being completely back to the way things were before Charlotte like it never happened. You should never apologize for grieving. We’re all in this with you and we understand the magnitude of what your family is experiencing. The fact that you write and are willing to share your life with us and possibly helping someone else going through a similar thing is a blessing all in its own. Just be you and we will all love you and your family, bruises and bandaids and all. Be well. Be safe. You are loved.

    • Yes, this! What Laurie said. I was tried to figure out how to say what I wanted to tell you, Steph, and there it was. Thanks Laurie, for saying exactly what I wanted to say.

  13. My daughter got a scooter exactly like that one for her 3rd birthday, and we’ve put easily a hundred miles on that thing going for our daily stroller walk/scooter rides during quarantine.

  14. Glad you could “virtually” be together for Elliot’s birthday. A friend of mine put together a birthday parade for her four year old. Neighborhood friends all made posters and walked past his house (from a safe distance) and wished him a happy birthday.

  15. Well Happy Birthday, Elliott. You are surrounded with all the love.

    Is it just me, or when kids graduate to jeans they seem to not be babies or toddlers anymore.

    Hoping my new grand-boy is not walking already before I get me meet him. He’s in Texas. Me? Ohio. 1200 miles apart.

  16. Happy Birthday Mr. E! Tell your Grammy she better knit the Mountain Mist in the next size up just in case you decide to keep growing taller while this lockdown lasts. Happiest returns of the day, and may this be your most strange and difficult birthday.

  17. You guys are amazing! Elliot is so darn cute and so happy. Nicely done. You guys rock!

    Grief just requires so much energy for me. I always think (and I’ve been told) that I should be more peppy, productive, resilient etc. That’s just such a load of bull. It takes the time it takes and there’s no template. Everyone, and every time, is so different. It just sucks. The only thing that works for me is to just lean into it and to hang on. To have to go through it right now is exceptionally hard. Thanks for sharing. You guys are awesome and the smile on Elliot’s face proves it!

    • I totally agree. Twice I’ve had to deal with sudden death and the grief takes as long as it takes. Lean in, hang on, and if you can find a support group that works for you, be it family or strangers, give it a go. It made a huge difference to me, not in the time I had left to grieve, but in knowing I was not alone….Elliot is such a happy child and those pictures are amazing. His joy will surely lessen your sorrow a tiny bit. love from Idaho.

  18. We all need to learn to grieve like children do, said a very wise psychology professor and grief counselor. I am so very happy for Elliot’s joyous birthday celebration. I have been grieving your loss, too. Lovely sweater, of course.

  19. You are an amazing grandmother; that sweater is the bomb; thank you for making me feel better about not cleaning; so many of us are still thinking of you and your family every day with love and virtual hugs. Thank you for sharing with us.

  20. He is such a lovely child.
    I shouldn’t be surprised. He comes from a lovely family.
    Thank you for continuing to share your family and life with us. It brightens my day when I read one of your blog posts. Truly.

  21. Happy Birthday Elliot. At least we can have virtual birthday parties these days. Had one with my family too. And lucky Elliot got an actual hug from grandmother wrapped up inside the stitches of the sweater she lovingly made for him!! He looks delightful wearing it. The scooter is perfect gift for a cutie 3 year old.

    Nothing can truly ease the pain of the tragic loss of Charlotte for all of you, so glad you all could have a happy moment with Elliot on his birthday.

    Hugs to you and your whole family.

  22. Happy Birthday to Elliott! What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and remember that life goes on. Sending love to you, the birthday boy, and his parents.

  23. I do that too. Yesterday I took bags of groceries over to my parents and we all sat in the carport (eight feet apart and wearing masks) and had a little visit.

    Is this epidemic ever going to end? Seriously.

    Big ups to your fam.

  24. Could you patch me through to your boss, please? That woman’s expectations of you need to be sawed off at ground level. Hand on heart, the blog is so glad to have you posting we’d drool over a dishcloth. In garter stitch. So you knit a bit and cry a bit and cast something on. Maybe sing something with Elliot. Spirit of the old Blitz.

    Or you could get out the gansey.

    • When I saw your final thought, I let out a huge laugh. Such a wonderful ongoing tease. Thanks for that in the midst of all the messy stress.

    • you nailed it, Rams….I’m in shock and awe that we’re getting posts at all during this awful time. So grateful. The posts give me a bit of hope that the whole family will come through this just fine.

      I just put away the winter sweater (Brookings) I’ve been working on and cast on 3 new things. Yee Gods, that makes my WIPs in the double digits but who cares….what is there to do but knit.
      Stay Calm and Cast on.

    • …I was reading the first part rather quickly and at first pass I thought (since “Joe” and “sweater” appear very close together) that you HAD pulled out the gansey!!!

      The slowing of grief is like having too many programs running at once on your computer–you can’t see why things are all slow and jerky, but it’s because your hard drive is working on so many things you can’t see…weirdly, we’re kinda the same…

  25. Dear Steph, Along with so many others, I’m glad that you can knit. That your creative ability is still working. I was told by a friend some years ago, when in lake of grief, that the fog in my brain was a protection to keep it from overwhelming us. It took a long time for it to go away. Virtual hugs help, but don’t quite do the same job. I’ll send some anyway.

  26. Happy happy Birthday Eliot! You bring joy to more people then you have ever met in person…just as your Mum and Aunt have!

  27. Thanks for the photos. It’s so nice to see someone smiling and having a nice birthday celebration in the midst of all this!

    Lovely sweater – and I know what you mean about those grandkids growing up when you can’t be there to see them & give them a hug.

  28. Happy Birthday, Elliot! The unbridled joy on his face is so welcome, thank you. Lovely sweater, of course.

    And the Blog is collectively waiving their magic wand and granting hereafter permission, allowing Stephanie to not apologize for how long things take, or missing photos, or anything else. You are loved, and no one blames you a bit for being human now and then; Superhero Steph is taking a little vacation and will be back eventually.

  29. That’s a whale of a size range on that sweater. At first, I thought it must be the wrong pattern! You could extend the sleeves and bottom if necessary, and if you don’t wait too long so the sweater doesn’t show any wear or color change.

    Take care!

  30. Grief, like stress, can alter everything. As a health care worker, I can hardly concentrate on a project, as my mind is so consumed at work with all this crap, and I just can’t manage on my time off to do anything complicated. Enjoy the projects that bring some joy and ease back into it.
    Happy Birthday Elliot!!
    My birthday present to you was that both my hubby and I got our snow tires off this week, and my hubby hooked up the hose outdoors- sure to bring on the snow flurries today!! Just so you could enjoy that lovely sweater from grama!! 😉

  31. Happy birthday Elliot!
    Your family’s quiet strength and obvious love are an inspiration.
    Somehow, his birthday being ‘aces’ made a bad day better for someone hundreds of miles away!

  32. No apologies needed for anything. Wow, it seems like yesterday that you were knitting for Hank when he was that age.

  33. From Elliot’s reaction to that scooter I’d have thought it was a motorcycle! The best presents require no batteries, electricity, or adult tutoring. Just the kid and strength he was born with. I suspect he’ll remember this birthday.

  34. Doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Your family nailed it! I love the balloon 3; so festive! Kudos to Meg and the whole family for giving Elliot a joyous celebration. The sweater rocks!

  35. Grief is exhausting. Grief is a tidal wave, a hurricane, an earthquake, a forest fire, a volcano.
    It is unbearably physical in a way I was completely unprepared for. I didn’t know it was possible to be so tired and yet go on existing.
    My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope that birthdays and little-boy smiles go a ways towards brightening your lives.

  36. I remember his chubby little cheeks when I first saw a picture of Elliot on the blog. Look at him now, he’s such a little man! I’m glad he got to have a sweet birthday with a neat scooter… I’m glad you all have Elliot to concentrate on, to direct you away from your grief for a small respite. Grief is hard. I realize celebrating is bittersweet right now, but it’s so necessary. Great work on the sweater, Grams. Your family remains in my thoughts.

  37. That face that face that face!!! I’m bookmarking this post so that I always have an instant shot of joy close at hand. Much love to all the fam for celebrating this fine young gent in style. You are all a class act.

  38. Bless his little heart! And yours too. They grow so fast! It is impossible to keep up even if you see them regularly. I made a sweater for my grandson (I am not nearly as swift a knitter as you) and gifted it to him. It was on the snug side so I decided to re-knit it in a larger size. Then I was diagnosed with cancer and my knitting ability slowed even further so it took a few months to finish it. Even though I knit it two sizes larger it still just barely fit when I gave it to him. I think he got 3 wearings out of it on camping trips before it was just. too. small. Elliot looks so smart in his lovely new sweater. Well done Nana. Well done.

  39. Thank you for the blog. Instagram has blocked anyone who does not have an acct themselves.

    I love seeing the pictures and treasure the fact that you share the good and the bad times with us.

    Belated Happy Birthday to Elliot!

    • Must have been a glitch that’s been fixed. I don’t have an IG acct but was able to view others’ posted photos a few minutes ago.

    • I’ve been getting that, but I can still right click and open the picture along with the comments in a new tab. It’s happened before and gone again, I think.

  40. Happy birthday E! Love the “virtual party and the scooter and the sweater.

    The balloons have given me a wonderful idea for my great granddaughter for her 3rd birthday coming in July. A few more white balloons will give an E with the 3. Her name is Eleanor. No kidding.

    Joy and comfort to all in the family
    Chris S

  41. This is the weekend we should have been getting ready to go to KITH. What is KITH? Knitting in the Heartland, (the Heartland being the Kansas City area.) I was so looking forward to it. I was registered for some of Stephanie’s classes. Was going to wear my casual wrap, can’t quite call it a sweater, made from a variegated blue Peruvian Tweed.

    • This morning I got a reminder from Google Calendar that KITH will be starting tonight. I guess Google Calendar doesn’t read the papers.

  42. It’s always the jeans. Something about little boys in “real” jeans and they go from you-were-just-a-baby to holy-crap-he’s-about-to-drive-a-car. The scooter photo is super.

  43. Happy belated birthday, to a sweet boy and sweater model! I recently also sent a vest to a nephew who I thought was a tad smaller than the vest… Love to all of you! ❤️❤️❤️

  44. that photo of The Birthday Boy and His Scooter just broke my heart into a million joyful pieces. So perfect, we should all remember happy moments like that one. 😀

  45. It looks like he had a great birthday! The sweater looks great! They grow so quick; I’m fearful that my four year old granddaughter is going to be a giant before I see her again. She’s taken to having her mother (who’s an aesthetician) do her make up everyday with eyebrows, lipstick & sprinkles (which is what she calls glitter eyeliner) I have to admit that it makes her look like a teenager and when I tell her that’s she’s getting too big she just cackles and tells me I’m silly. My daughter has said there is something disturbing about doing her four year old daughter’s makeup each day, especially when they aren’t leaving the house. Although she’s happy that it eats up about 45 minutes of the day and Vivien lets her brush her long wavy hair without complaint as one can’t have a made up face if you aren’t going to brush your hair. (And suddenly I feel a blog post coming on lol) Off to knit on my mindless socks and jot down notes for an upcoming pattern.

  46. Happy Birthday to Elliot!!! My granddaughter’s was today and mine was nine days ago. (Let me tell you, April birthdays are tough when you are Jewish because a good part of the time they fall during Passover and Passover cakes are lets say, something less than wonderful) Still its spring, the forsythia, daffodils and magnolia are in bloom here in CT and they are beautiful. BTW, trips to the liquor store and marijuana dispensary are deemed “essential” here in CT so I don’t think there is any need for guilt about a trip for the birthday boy.

  47. Happy birthday to Elliot!
    The sweater is so beautiful. He looks so happy with that scooter it makes me feel like getting one for myself and ride away!
    Hugs to you.

  48. His parents (and grandparents!) are indeed the best. I have great admiration for their ability to make a beautiful day for their son in these awful circumstances. He is clearly very, very loved. Happy birthday, Elliot!

  49. Was just wondering (maybe topic another day or for the blog)

    What do you do with Charlotte’s sweaters to be in Ravelry?

    All of us at one point are going to collect a group of patterns that trigger sadness. You may one day use them. Or maybe they are too closely linked?

  50. I am in the process of moving and downsizing and found so many knitting books. I was able to sort through and keep those that meant something to me or had patterns I was still thinking of knitting. It has actually been so much fun to look through knitting books again. And of course all my Yarnharlot Knitting books. They do make a difference and I am glad I found them again.
    Take care of yourself. I lost my mom suddenly in December and the waves of grief that hit me are still surprising. My knitting has lagged and I am trying to remember what peace it used to bring me.
    Thank you so much for your blog.

  51. I have to agree that he’s definitely growing! Don’t worry, he’ll still fit in your loving arms when you see him next. The sweater is awesome.

  52. Simply adorable! As the mother of 3 grown young men, I can tell you, they grow in the blink of the eye. I got to the point where I only bought 2 pairs of pants at a time because they out grew them so quickly. But they are so wonderful, aren’t they?

    Thanks for the blog, I hope it brings as much comfort to you as it does to us. Writing always bring me comfort.

  53. Is it a thread jack to say that I love the played rainbow yarn on Instagram?
    And it is remarkable how Elliott looks like a small boy now, not a baby.
    Always wishing you and your loved ones peace,

  54. Watching Prince tribute on CBS. I realize you are in Toronto but we’re you able to watch the special?
    The sound track to my high school years. Saw him in concert 3x, such energy!
    Couple years later met him at a bar on Lake Minnetonka, MN.
    He was kind.

  55. I remember that when Meghan first told you that she was pregnant with Elliot, you cried, not because you didn’t want a grandchild but because you didn’t want your daughter to be walking around with her heart outside her body and vulnerable to being broken. Could you be psychic? Because this – the loss of little Charlotte – is what you most feared. But looking at that little boy with his birthday sweater and his scooter, wasn’t it worth it? I’m sure Meg would say so and I’m confident that you would too.

  56. I’m behind on my blog reading, so am late to the party. Great sweater, terrific parents, The Very Best Grandma and yes…That wee fellow’s life is aces. Love and blessings to Elliot and *all* his family!

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