While making my way back to the east coast, I spent time with my parents, my in-laws, and my grandmother, Annie. Annie’s arthritis has made crafting difficult, so when I found this product, Quilt Magic, at the Phoenix Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival, I knew she would love it. It’s not typical Nikki, In Stitches style, but the smile on my Annie’s face when she was able to create something all on her own for the first time in years, filled me with such warmth and pride, I knew I had to share just some of her story. I was able to give her just a few hours of happiness, when she’s given me a lifetime of love and memories that have made me the woman I am. Annie has a very special place in my heart, and I hope that what I write today gives you just a glimpse of the extraordinary lady she is.
I like to think that I get all of my best qualities from Annie, of course her amazing crafting skills, but also her sense of humor, her pride in her family, and her dedication and passion to everything she does. On the other hand, I also get my stubbornness from her and the unfortunate shape of my thighs. Annie will be 88 this fall, and her body is certainly not in ideal condition, but her mind is as sharp as ever. She is the only woman I know that can make a hospital room full of doctors and nurses, attempting to deliver distressing news, roar with laughter.
Annie has shown me how to be a lady, how to be a wonderful mother, and how to be a loving wife, even though I’ve actually never known her as a married woman. My grandfather died years before I was born, leaving Annie to raise her six children on her own. When I was much younger, I would ask her about my grandfather, and question what it was like for her to be on her own for so long. Her responses always left me in awe. She would tell that there was never a day in the last thirty-something years that she was ever on her own. She feels my grandfather with her everyday, and each night she dreams of him. She tells him about her day, she asks his advice on how to handle situations with her children, and she feels his arms around her every morning when she wakes up.
A few years ago, I read a study that said senior citizens in relationships live longer than those that are single. I immediately went on the hunt, looking for a boyfriend for my Annie. When I told her I was searching for her future companion, she informed me that she already had all the man she needed and couldn’t imagine handling two men at the same time.
Annie’s is a love story. Annie is the kind of woman that you can actually feel her love wrap around you when she is with you. She has such an abundance of love and she is so willing to love everyone and everything. Her love for her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren is awe inspiring. Her love for her friends and her willingness to help them in any way she can is truly inspirational.
Recently, my mother-in-law sent me an email forward titled “Grandma’s Hands.” I have a rule that I never forward chain emails, and I usually delete them, sometimes before even reading them, but this one touched me. It talked about all the trials and tribulations that a grandmother’s hands have been through, ups and downs, falls, tears, smiles, etc. I couldn’t help but think of it as I watched Annie work on her sunflower. I looked at her hands, old and tired, knuckles curled with arthritis, and thought of how warm they always felt when they rubbed my back. I remembered them pointing to the words of the first book I ever read. I could see them holding a wooden spoon, stirring a huge pot of vegetable soup. I could feel them holding my hands the morning I got married, and hear her telling me how beautiful I looked. I could see them holding my son, and I thought to myself, I hope he gets to know the Annie that I know. The Annie that is my inspiration everyday of my life. The Annie that has taught me to give all that I have to everything I can, and have faith that one day it will come back to me. The Annie that shows me what true love really is. My Annie.
I love you, Annie.
Nikki, In Stitches
A special thank you to the man that sold me Quilt Magic in Phoenix. I do not know your name, and I’m sure you talked to many people that day and probably don’t remember me, but you brought a light back to my grandmother’s eyes and I am forever grateful.