a little something extra

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Not to mention parents

This birthday seemed to be all about the Gifts I Knew Were Coming. I knew what my siblings were planning, as discussed below. But I also knew what was coming from my parents.

My mother knits and crochets. She has made many wonderful items over the years, including a sweater that she made in the mid-1970s that I still get compliments on every time I wear it today (relax, folks, she made it for herself in the mid-1970s, I'm not still wearing the same size clothes I did when I was nine). The birth of Connor two years ago gave rise to a veritable explosion of cute crocheted and knat baby gear from his loving granny.

But in addition to items of clothing, mom makes afghans. Now, I already own one afghan -- my late grandmother made it for me as a high school graduation gift. It's royal blue, with yellow-gold stripes, the colors of my undergraduate alma mater. I have moved that afghan across the country many times, I treasure it, and will keep it forever.

However, when I moved out here I bought a new sofa and armchair for my living room. They're solid red. The blue-and-gold afghan gives rise to a Crayola Decorating Effect that I thought could stand some improvement. So I asked Mom whether she would like to make me a throw that I could keep in the living room to pull over me while I watch movies or read, and I would put the blue afghan in the bedroom instead. She said, "Heck, yes!"

At Christmas, we went shopping together for yarn. I picked out a rich walnut brown with flecks of gold in it. I thought that would look nice against the deep red upholstery. I also picked out a pattern that was textured with big curving waves. Mom took it all home with her and set to work.

Shortly after New Year's, she let me know that she'd mastered the pattern, but the dark color of the yarn was hiding the full visual effect. A lighter color would show the highlights and shadows created by the pattern's heavy texturing, but the dark brown flattened it out. We consulted, and she picked out a lighter oatmeal color, and earmarked the afghan for finishing and delivery around my birthday.

And today, the UPS man (in a truck about the color that the afghan would have been!) delivered a box containing the beautiful product of her work. The yarn is heathered with black flecks and hints of Williamsburg blue, the pattern looks great, and as Mom said on the phone "it's been beta-tested for warmth" as she worked on it.

But the box didn't stop there. It also contained gifts my folks chose on their recent trip to Australia and Tahiti. They sent a pareo in such delicious sorbet colors that I am tempted to hang it right up on the light green wall of my office. They tucked in a pair of delicate moonstone earrings which I will wear often... I mean, frequently! And there was a lighthearted birthday card with a handwritten note to top it all off.

Good thing nobody requires me to decide whether I am more delighted by the Gift I Knew Was Coming, or the lagniappes I didn't expect.


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