This is the second cross stitch I have completed since mom died. I cried a lot throughout its progress, but most especially in the beginning. Holding the fabric was heaving. Pulling the thread was a monumental task that I couldn’t do for very long.
I was always emotionally and physically exhausted after the brief time I spent working on it and Ox was always there to hold me while I cried after what felt like an insignificant, laughable amount of time.
Unfeeling Logical Lef Brain: It’s fabric. It’s a needle. How are those things, which weigh less than a pound combined, heavy? How can you be physically exhausted when you go to the gym and lift weights and run and row and do jiujitsu and spare with black belts? How is this task in any way hard? Why are you being such a baby about this?
And yet, those objects were heavy and no amount of bashing myself changed the fact that stitching still made me cry and miss mom.
Like my last project, I thought about giving up on this one more than once and even though it’s a fairly easy project, it took me almost a year to complete.
I started this project shortly after my move to Nebraska. Ox went with me to a local stitching store and I found the pattern in the clearance section. It was a simple pattern. A single color. A happy little woodland fairy with a pretty little butterfly. I could do this project…
I WOULD do this project.
I would do this project and I would figure out my emotions and grief associated with stitching while I did it.
I WOULD NOT give up my craft. I WOULD NOT let the universe take away a skill my mom had taught me no matter how much I had to cry and sob and scream and rage and cry again to figure it out and get it back.
This was the project that brought Lil’ Ox and me together. She saw me stitching one night and thought it was pretty and wanted to try stitching something herself. We went online and found patterns she wanted to do. I showed her how to pick out the threads she needs for her projects. I showed her how to cut her threads and thread her needles. I showed her how to count stitches and mark her pattern to keep track of her progress.
So far she has stitched a cat and a heart and is in the process of stitching a rainbow unicorn while we’ve sat next to each other listening to music or talking. She gave the heart she made to Papa Ox as a Christmas present. It was amazing to see his face light up when he opened his gift and how big Lil’ Ox smiled and to sit knowing I played a role in making that interaction happen.
This fairy will eventually be Lil’ Ox’s birthday gift. I want her to have it since she admired it so much and because I think of it as ours; her’s and mine. I still need to wash out the pencil lines and stitch her name, but overall the project is done and I’m content with it.
I wasn’t as good as I meant to be about taking progress pictures, and with how much space lapsed between the start and the end of the project I’m sort of surprised I have as many pictures as I do.
I’m glad I did this one. I’m glad I have a lot of positive memories associated with it. I’m glad I worked through as much as I did emotionally with it. I no longer cry every time I stitch. In fact, I haven’t cried while stitching or after stitching in months now. I’ve completed two other projects since this one and am already in the process of working on another.
I’m glad my fairy will eventually have a home where she will be cherished and loved and valued. I’m glad that holding this project actually makes me feel warmth and love and… happiness? I think maybe that’s the right word. I’m happy I have someone to give it to. I’m happy someone will be able to enjoy it.
I’m sorry this piece took me so long to do, mom, but I didn’t quit or give up on it. I didn’t throw it away. Every time I stitch I still think of you teaching me on my first project and all of the projects I made for you after it. I still think of you and miss you and I don’t mean for those thoughts to be as painful as they are, but I’m adjusting to them and because I worked through them I’m able to pass on your teachings to others. You’re still alive and affecting and influencing the world because you influenced me and I haven’t given up.
I love you, mom, for ever and for always.