Letting Go

The moment I had been dreading came and went. My son left for university.

The summer seemed to fly by. It’s not as if I spent every waking hour with him. There was work for him and for me. And time with the girlfriend. He took turns hanging out with his friends, figuring they would see each other again on breaks and holidays, knowing full well things would never be the same. We managed to find a few hours here and there for Mother-Son time. It gets hard to do so when they’re 18.

I’ve mostly been in denial. Even as we unloaded his things from the car and helped him set up his room, it seemed like just another summer camp, only this one would last much longer. I could see momentary fear in his eyes when we first arrived. Everything was so new, uncharted. As the day progressed and he was settled with familiar things around him, he seemed to relax.

On day three, it was time to let go. I gave his room one more motherly pass, wiping countertops and putting things away, and then there wasn’t anything left to do, except say goodbye. As if on cue, my husband went to get the car. I knelt beside my boy and said a prayer. I looked into his eyes and I saw that he was ready. The tears flowed momentarily but I reigned them in and put a smile on it. I kissed him and said goodbye.

As we drove away from campus onto the interstate, the tears escaped. So many memories came to mind. The day of his birth. The moment the doctor placed him on my stomach, still connected to me by the umbilical cord. The times he cried when someone he didn’t know well picked him up – those great big crocodile tears flowing like a waterfall and the cutest pout ever. Images of him grabbing his toes the way babies do. Watching him pour a bowl of scrambled eggs on his head and cracking up. The time he had pneumonia and lost all that weight. Multiple emergency room visits and IVs to calm his asthma, followed by endless popsicles. Him getting sick every time I had to go out-of-town on business. Him sitting and sulking in time out. Picking him up from school and knowing he was in trouble just from looking at his face. So many memories.

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A week has gone by. I keep myself busy. I’ve started Chinese language classes again and I have two knitting projects on the needles. And for the first time since we were married, my husband and I have had some one-on-one adult time (we both had kids when we met). I try not to think about him being away. There is a certain peace in knowing he is where he needs to be and I have to trust that I’ve prepared him as best as I could. It’s up to him to do the rest.

Yarn in Navasota

On our Mother-Son college road trip, I teasingly told my son that I only planned to stop at five yarn stores en route to Texas A&M. My 17-year old was not amused. I wish there were that many yarn stores along the way! He was actually quite patient with me when I took the business exit through Navasota so that I could visit WC Mercantile.

WC Mercantile 2

Navasota is a small town with just over 7,000 residents. It’s downtown is lined with quaint historic buildings that house antique and other local shops. It was a cold and rainy day so I headed straight to WC Mercantile located on East Washington Avenue. And what a delight it was!

WC Mercantile 3

WC Mercantile has a wonderful selection of yarns for the knitter or crocheter and a large space devoted to luscious fibers and spinning wheels. I went straight for their local yarns spun from Texas Alpacas.

WC Mercantile 4

WC Mercantile 5

Love these project bags!

WC Mercantile 1

The owner was very nice and helpful. She was at a table teaching a customer to knit. This is why I love local yarn stores.

WC Mercantile 6

In the back of the store, they had a cute little Christmas tree on which hung sheep ornaments and these. Too cute!

WC Mercantile Ornament

In addition to yarn and fibery stuff, I couldn’t resist these cards. They look like original watercolors. I particularly like the one on the left. No grannies here!

WC Mercantile Cards

Navasota is about 45 minutes north of Houston. I am looking into one of their day-long wheel spinning classes. It would be a nice getaway from the city. If you are ever in the area, stop by and enjoy a few hours of all things fiber!

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College, a President and Needlepoint

During the Winter break, my son and I went to visit colleges. It was sort of a Mother-Son trip. We hung out, talked, tried new restaurants, and toured the campus. It was nice having that one-on-one time with my 17-year old. Soon enough he will be gone from home and I cherish these moments together.

While visiting the campus of Texas A&M University, we stopped at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. A long time ago, when I worked on the Hill, I came within a few yards of then President Bush (the elder, not “W”). Visiting the museum gave me a deeper appreciation of him. The museum chronicles his time in the service, how he was married with a baby during college, and his rise in politics. Coincidentally, while we were visiting the museum, he was hospitalized in Houston; and more recently, he and Barbara Bush celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary! Regardless of your politics, that is impressive. He even tweeted about this milestone – so sweet!

As interesting as all the artifacts and exhibits of his life were, my attention was diverted by several yarn-related installations. Much to my son’s chagrin, I spent a considerable amount of time admiring and photographing these adorable yarn houses and an amazing Noah’s Ark and Nativity Scene done in needlepoint. They were stitched by the Saintly Stitchers from Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. The Nativity Scene was presented to the President and Mrs. Bush in 1989, and the Noah’s Ark was presented to them in 1991 along with needlepoint ornaments for the White House Christmas tree.

I highly recommend clicking on any photo below to view larger images. That way you can see the detail of the needlepoint. So much care went into each figure. All in all, it was a wonderful trip with my boy.

December FO: Chimborazo Textured Hat

This year, my niece Victoria started college. She is an exceptional student who finished in the top 5% of her class. (It’s my blog so I am taking editorial license to be a proud aunt). She is a scholar-athlete who competed in both individual and team sports and even broke a track record. She received scholarships and grants but it was still a stretch to cover all those college costs. I honestly don’t know how regular middle-class Americans can afford to send their kids to college. So, she is living with us and commuting to school every day. We emptied the guest room, picked up a great daybed from IKEA that pulls out into a full-size bed for guests. We also got her a desk and a really cool chair and let her decorate the rest of her “dorm” room. She has black-and-white posters of Marilyn and Audrey and the New York skyline on her walls and small LED lights around the perimeter. It has been a delight to have her in our home. We have two boys so she is the daughter we never had.

As the weather started turning a bit cold, I decided to knit her a hat. I found this pattern which she promptly approved of with the request that it be in a white or cream color. I found this off-white bulky yarn at the fiber festival. It was half off and perfect for the hat. It’s Yearling by Juniper Moon Farm, a wonderful blend of 60% merino wool and 40% cotton, and it has been discontinued. I love this yarn! I already have several skeins of it in bright colors in my stash. It’s a great yarn for knitting in Texas because the wool brings warmth but the cotton tempers it a bit.

Juniper Moon Farm Yearling Color 01

Once I got past the brim, the basket weave texture started to show itself.

Chimborazo On the Needles

I love the look of it! My niece loved it too.

Chimborazo Back View

I topped it off with a big pompom.

Chimborazo Full View

Chimborazo Side View

Now she can keep her head warm as she goes from class to class.