Dear Maeve

Dear Maeve,

Welcome (a little belatedly) to the family. Ordinarily, your introduction to me, and the blanket that comes with me would come at the same time, but your slightly early arrival (and the broken wrist I had – don’t worry about that, you’ll learn about bikes later) mean that your blanket followed our meeting rather significantly. Indeed, you’re the first baby in the family to get your blanket by post. You’re still very, very little, so you may not remember when we met. Usually, I’d point out that I’m the one who comes with all the knitted stuff – to help you place me in your mind, but you’ve got so many knitters around you, that it isn’t really going to help you sort out who I am.  Instead, you may remember me as the lady who helped your mum with nursing you – I’m the one who kept talking about latch, and insisting your mummy aim for your nose. (I know, it sounds crazy, but you and I both know it works.) As an aside, I’d like to thank you for being born right before Knit City – It was so nice to be in the right part of Canada so we could have that time together. Good thinking, Sweetpea.

You are the second baby born into this family that tripped me right out – your cousin Elliot was the first – his mum is my daughter Meg, and your Mum is Savannah – she and Meg played together as littles, because they are cousins. Your grandmother is my sister-in-law Kelly and she’s the one you probably think of, when you think of knitting.  Kelly and I went out for dinner just after you were born, and we talked about what you are – who you are really. You aren’t just Kosti and Savannah’s daughter, you are the amazing and miraculous person who made Kelly a grandmother, and Ben a grandfather.

We talked about the feeling of it. Ben said that he had always loved your mother, and your Auntie Kamilah, but how he feels now is different, and I knew just what he meant – I see it in your Great Uncle Joe too. (You’ve met him as well. He’s the big loud one who cries with joy when he looks at you. I know your Grandfather does that too, but Joe’s the one with more hair.) We learned about this special love when Elliot was born. It’s a shocking, powerful thing, and you should know it means that there is nothing he won’t do for you, and I mean nothing. The love your grandfather’s oozing is a fierce and mighty thing, and he is unfettered by the restraints and rules of parenthood. If, my little Maeve, you knew how to ask for a pony, there is no doubt in my mind that Ben would have one tied up in your bedroom later today.

Your Grandmother Kelly – oh, it’s a little different. We talked about the confusing feelings that come with transitioning into being a Grammy. See, in her heart, she can tell you are her baby. It’s the only thing that makes sense really, you are tiny and new, and made of the same stuff that your mummy was, and all your grandmother can think when she takes you in her arms is that you are hers, entirely.  This makes it very difficult to understand why she is not allowed to do with you as she pleases – to ask your Mum for permission to dress or change you, and why inexplicably, you sleep with your Mum at night.  I’m proud of her (as I was of myself) for the respect she’s shown your parents in not making off with you. This love is not as fierce as your grandfathers, but it is the most enduring, determined and patient love you will ever know.

I understand, my little Maeve, about your grandparents, because Elliot took me to school on that, but I have to say that I am properly freaked out by your parents. On some level, I remain confused that my baby has a baby, and similarly boggled that your Mum has become a mother as well. I know it happened, intellectually I believe that she is indeed your parent, but it just seems so impossible.  I watched her nurse you, and snuggle you, and the way she looked at you… oh Maeve, that’s your mother for sure, and a fine one. I knew your mother when she had trouble being responsible for a hamster, and I’m happy to report that she’s grown infinitely as a person. You’re going to do just fine with her.

Let me tell you this too, ma petite, I have been around a lot of families at the beginning of their parenting journeys, and there is much you can tell about the character of a partner from how they begin the trip. It can be a difficult time – so much of those first days is about you and your mum. Really, mummies and their babies are still one person for the first little while, not yet separate from each other, and for some partners it is difficult to find a role. I took a great deal of pleasure in watching your father Maeve. Kosti is gentle and kind and clever, and while he was so good with you, he seemed to grasp from the beginning that caring for your mother was also caring for you, and the love and support he gave her while they were both learning how to do this thing was a very good thing to watch. You’ve got a good team on your side, I can see that.

Now, about your blanket.  It’s big, I know, but I have a theory about these blankets and it isn’t just that they are meant to be your baby blanket, but something you can cuddle up with your whole life- and as little as you are now, your parents are both tall, and I don’t think I’ve overshot. I chose special stitches for you Maeve – just like the ones for Hank, Luis, Frankie, Myrie, Emmett and Elliot –  your blanket is unlike any other.

In the centre is a pattern of Fir Cones – for the forests your parents love to hike all over the world. I’ve no doubt that you’re going to be a kid with a favourite tree, and enjoy the woods and the out of doors, the way your mum and dad do.

Surrounding that centre, just as you are surrounded in life – a border of ring lace, meant to signify the family that encircles you.  This, my darling girl, is the only element of the blanket appears on every one that I’ve knit. You have the great good fortune to be born into a strong, vibrant, loving family, and though so many of us live far away, never doubt that we are all around you. The blankets have it in common, because we all do.

Beyond that, suns and moons – round and whole and bright, meant to remind you that though some of your family is far away – and though you have been born into a family of travellers, and that may even take you farther, we are all under the same sky, all the time. We all see the same moon, the same sun every day, no matter where we are.

After that, snow. With a Russian father and a Canadian mother – how could snowflakes not be a theme for you? It is something your parents have in common, though they are from different places, you are a child of the North.

Finally, around the edges, some Orenberg lace, a little something for your Russian father and his family, and it is very pretty – but it has a garter stitch base so it isn’t just beautiful, it’s strong and enduring, a trait I wish for you.

Welcome, sweet Maeve. You are loved beyond all measure.

Ever yours,

Great Aunt Stephanie

(PS. Thanks for going to sleep long enough for your mum to take those last few pictures. Very thoughtful.)

160 thoughts on “Dear Maeve

  1. Maeve and all the babies in the YH family are very lucky indeed to have special blankets full of such meaning. And the fact that you share them with us (babies, blankets, meanings) is super special. So thanks.

  2. I’ve cried tears of joy as I’ve read every article you’ve written about the additions to your family. How fortunate they are to be so loved. Thank you for sharing this part of you! Ps the blanket is beautiful, as always.

  3. Your letter has filled my heart with happiness. My first granddaughter will be 4 in about 3 weeks. God bless little Maeve. And thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.

  4. My first grandchild was born in September. When I hold him my heart swells with a fierce love that I can not even begin to describe. You’ve come very close but I believe the love for your (& mine) grandchildren just can’t be adequately put into words. It’s incredible and such a blessing to hold him in my arms. I can tell you feel the same way.

    • Our first grandchild is now a junior in college, the second a freshman in college, and the last a freshman in high school. The love and joy they bring us has only continued to grow over the years. Always hold them close as they grow even more quickly than their parents did.

  5. Gorgeous blanket as always. Thanks for sharing with us. I love to see your giant creations (as well as the drama that always seems to ensue when you knit one), and I love hearing the meaning/story behind your pattern choices. What a gift for these new babies!

  6. Thank you… most especially to your family, who let you share this little piece of their life with us, as it intersects with yours.

  7. Having grandchildren is the very best. We have six all 7 and under and everyone is so special. Thank you for your letter to Maeve. She’s a lucky baby to have such a thoughtful gift with such meaning. It will last a lifetime.

  8. Wow you’ve articulated completely what my husband did with our first going on 8 years now. He made sure I had water, was fed and was duly absolutely attentive to my needs.

    May the little growing family always be so loved.

  9. Wow. Just wow. you have a gift with words…and with knitting. Was crying at work over the depth of feeling in this post. That, and I looooove baby tootsies!

  10. Lovely post, most enjoyable – then came the first photo with THOSE LITTLE FEETS and I made a most undignfied noise and my eyes started leaking.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. There is a reason you are a knitting world rock star.

  11. How wonderful to welcome another little one into the family! As always, your special blanket for Maeve tells of her heritage, and that is so beautiful! And I can tell that she is, from the tiny foot peeking out from under it. Welcome little Maeve! The Blog welcomes you!

  12. Oh my stars, I’m at work and crying…Thanks!

    It’s a beautiful blanket, a beautiful letter, a beautiful child and a stunning tradition. All the best to your growing family.

  13. Stephanie, dispelling all possible doubts (in case anyone had any), this post to Maeve about her blanket, following so immediately after the post about Sam and her wedding shawl, say everything about why we readers of The Blog love and treasure you and your generosity to your family and to us for sharing your family and celebrations with a whole bunch of strangers (which we are not, actually, are we?).

  14. Stunning post! It’s so full of what I keep saying(I think you said it much better though)…it’s about the love, all about the love.

  15. What everyone else said about your writing and the blanket and, let me add, I just love the name “Maeve.”
    Big sighs over here.

  16. Steph, you knit and you write and you use your heart for both. Ahhhhhhhh! … love! … beautiful love.

    Peace and love to you and yours.

  17. You make such beautiful blankets! I wish you would sell patterns of them!! What yarn did you use. I miss loopy ewe solid series.

  18. You have such a way with words. I was sniffling all the way through and then I saw the WIDDLE FEETSIES and just gave up and flat out blubbered. Welcome Maeve and Thank You Steph!

  19. If you were to compile a small book of letters to the babies you have knitted blankets for, men would weep and women would feel aches in their ovaries.

  20. How utterly beautiful: the blanket, the baby toes, and the words.

    I love that you’ve made this tradition for the babies in your family, and I love that, despite having the commonality that goes to make a tradition, these blankets are so highly individual.

    Please let Maeve know that so many of us are delighted to have her with us!

  21. A lovely baby and a lovely blanket, yet again. You really ought to publish generic instructions for the blanket — picking the pattern stitches, how many stitches to cast on, etc.

    Has the X-mas Spreadsheet exploded yet?

  22. Someone is obviously cutting onions in here. This is a beautiful post. All the best to the family and beautiful wee Maeve. I love the stories behind the stitches you chose.

  23. So much thought and attention a LOT of LOVE in that blanket. I’m so inspired by your interpretation of the stitch patterns! Makes me want to try something like that… Someday! 😉

  24. I love the thought and meaning that you put into the stitch patterns – thank you so much for sharing – and for being such a force of good and of love in your family. I feel as if your family is like mine – I always knew that my family would look out for me and be there for me whenever I needed them. That sense of security is like a hug to the heart and it is my utmost wish and hope that my daughter feels that from her dad and I.

  25. This is such a breathtaking beautiful rendering of a family’s love for a new member. Thank you for blessing us with it and congratulations!

  26. Welcome, Maeve, you landed well. You could not have chosen a family more perfect for you. You’ll grow up with love and joy and laughter and tears and music and dancing; you’re in for such a grand adventure.
    Steph, your baby blankets and letters are always my favorites of your posts. And those toes! Ohmigawd, those toes.

  27. Exquisite-post, pictures and blanket.
    Thank you, our family will add a little “batman” to the ranks any days now. He will be grandchild #7 but just as precious and unique as the first.

  28. Oh my! Such a beautiful letter and a beautiful heirloom blanket. When my first grandchild was born, I was completely unprepared and stunned from the absolutely overwhelming love and attachment. You’ve described it perfectly. Congratulations to your whole family.

  29. Such a beautiful post – I love the joy that you express when you talk about your family, and the blanket is so very lovely.
    Thanks for sharing, Stephanie –

  30. Thanks for sharing, and for reminding me of the first time my mother held my son, her first grandchild. It was truly lovely, and gave me a little peek at what I have waiting for me when the time is right.
    Also, those little toes are just precious!

  31. What a delicate beautiful powerful blanket. Her good life path is clear. The little feet pictures made me tear up with happiness.

  32. You made me cry! And miss in retrospective my mum who was not with us anymore when my kids were born.

    and, beautiful blanket!

  33. Ahhhh, all the crying again. 🙂 Such a beautiful letter, such a gorgeous blanket. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

  34. It’s not fair to make me cry at work. . . what a lovely tribute and such gorgeous little feet in a lovingly planned blanket.

  35. I would love to have all of your beautiful posts about motherhood gathered together somewhere. I thought I understood, but I didn’t. Not really until I had my own child almost three years ago. The same year I lost my mom. I’m thankful for your words and how you put your heart into them.

  36. What a beautiful tale you weave! One to be treasured along with that gorgeous blanket. Your writing talent and your knitting skill are a perfect match! Well done.

  37. Thank you for the perfect explanation of how grandparents feel. Our grandson turns six in a few weeks and he is the light of our lives. Yes, I put knitting needles in his hands when he was less than 24 hours old. And thank you for the explanation of the designs on the blanket – what an incredibly beautiful gift. Lastly, thank you for sharing this magnificent love – of knitting, of family and of yourself. Blessed be.

  38. Welcome, Maeve – blessings to you and yours for the wonderful journey ahead. Treasure the blanket as a warm embrace with love and light in every stitch to guide and comfort you along the way.

    Stephanie, beautiful as always. Much as I’d appreciate the guidance (as others asked) for the recipe for such unique and special gifts, it would almost seem …. wrong. That is something from you that can never be duplicated. Namaste,

    Bonnie aka Knitsiam

  39. Oh my…this post made me a little teary, even though I am the mum that is remembered as a little, not the Grandma. Congratulations, Savannah, and welcome, Maeve. Be brave—beginning a new person requires a lot of bravery for baby and mother—and you are so lucky to have such a loving family.

  40. From one Grammy to another, you captured the essence of grand parenthood so remarkably and beautifully. I know the feelings, but haven;t been able to put them into words other than that it is a feeling like no other.

  41. Those little feet! I will come back to this post when we become grandparents early next year, all being well. Our son will be a father. Am not really processing that yet, but I know in my heart that what you say about caring for the new mother is true, and I hope and pray that he will sense that as well.

  42. Wow, that is an amazing blanket. I love the lace and the color. Thank you for explaining everything. You do have a strong and loving family. That’s wonderful. What a sweet baby. Hopefully this is healing some of the pain and grief after losing your mother. Now you are the grandma. Wild, huh?

  43. Oh Stephanie, thank you for sharing your gifts with me. Your writing, your knitting, and your experiences. You make me smile, some times laugh, and sometimes cry. But always ooooh and aaaah over you knitting. Thank you for sharing your life with me. P.S. I love this blanket!

  44. The blanket is more than beautiful, but those toes – OH!!!! Totally adorable :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Congratulations on your new almost-family member. Lots more love (and knitting) to spread around.

  45. Beautiful baby, beautiful moment captured! (And a beautiful blanket too.) Congratulations!

    Can anyone point me in the direction of patterns for these motifs? Really lovely!

  46. Beautiful! I enjoy your baby blankets so much. Not just for the entertainment factor and all of the wine and popcorn I consume during them, but also for how meaningful and special each and every one of them is! I hope one day you will teach a class on designing and pulling off one of these babies. Hopefully before my daughter has children…(she’s 5).

  47. Oh Maeve, the name of queens and storytellers. I’m sure this is a beginning of a wonderful story and I’m grateful to see the start of it told so beautifully.

  48. Wow, no matter what happens your new Grandniece is something special. You have put it so beautifully. How you are able to explain the feelings of a new Grandmother (that feeling doesn’t leave when other Grandchildren arrive) has to want to runoff with them – It never fails to amaze me how you put it into simple words.
    You are amazing, and I am crying recalling that feeling.
    Love that you explained why the patterns were chosen.

    God bless you and your new family member this holiday season.

  49. Wow!! Not only the blanket, but your words are gorgeous. If I were Maeve’s parents, I would read this to her every year on her birthday. It’s so full of life and wraps her not only in warmth but history, family, sense of place, the beauty of the natural world, and the fibers of the creatures we share it with. Thanks for letting us into this family event.

  50. Wow! Just Wow! This is one of the most beautiful things you have ever written! Beautiful sentiments for a beautiful little baby. I hope she will cherish this and, of course, the blanket and her “auntie” all of her life.

  51. What a beautiful and precious keepsake to give. I love the choice of personalized stitches and tales they tell. Such an incredible gift.

  52. Thank you for explaining the wonderful thought and symbolism you knit into this (and every baby blanket) – the blanket is beautiful, the words & thoughts more so.

  53. Thank you, Stephanie, for articulating such big thoughts and feelings so beautifully. Your letter to Maeve is a gift of reflection for us all.

  54. I think…how can Stephanie keep up with this journal much less all the comments.
    I love that you acknowledged the deep ongoing connection between Maeve and her mama following the birthing…I’ve heard it referred to as the fourth trimester…but even that is understated.
    The most sublime eloquence in response to the birth of a child is by default an understatement.
    Maeve herself is written on your heart…

  55. Dear Stephanie, thank you for explaining Maeve’s blanket and all the thought and love that went into it. Always remember, you’re not just a good aunt, you’re a Great Aunt!!! Cheers and best wishes for a lovely Christmas.

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  57. We worry about you when we don’t get a post about your crazy Christmas/Solstice preparations. I’m having a melt-down. How about you?

  58. This is the most beautiful description of the feelings of becoming a grandparent that I have ever read. I especially love the part about how the grandma just really can’t quite understand that it’s not HER baby, and why she has to ask her daughter’s permission to do things with her ;). This made me really understand my mother’s reaction to my daughters for the first time. Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  59. i realize that this was posted in December..Just retired and getting to catch up on lots of reading. Congratulations on the babies. Your writing was beautiful as always and actually had me in tears.
    Lovely blanket…I love the picture that shows 2 tiny feet!

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