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