Completing the Circle

When Robbie's mom passed away, there were five people in the room. Vera (Robbie's mom), Jack (Robbie's stepdad), Toby (Robbie's brother), Robbie and me. It was something I found myself oddly suited for, being the odd man out, the one who hadn't known Vera for that long and supporting the ones around me as she passed on. I rubbed her feet, gave her wet sponges to suck on, brushed her hair, and told her it was okay to go. And she did.

After she passed, I straightened her legs, closed her eyes, and placed her hands in a peaceful position. I made Robbie and his brother eat something. Hugged and cried with those around me. I made the calls to let people know she was gone. It was a sacred role, and one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Last night, I stepped into the role of support again, but this time in a very different situation. My first doula client was in labour, and I got to be there to support her and her husband through the birth of their first baby. It was a fast labour. She was eight centimetres by the time we got to the hospital, and the baby was born only two hours later, a beautiful boy.

Again, I find myself oddly suited to this job, and I saw some striking parallels. I held mom's hand, rubbed her back and gave her sips of water and ice chips. I let her know what was going on, when baby was *almost* there. I let her know it was okay to be scared, and okay to make the jump into motherhood. And she did.

After the birth, I took pictures, hugged the new parents, admired the new arrival and stayed to talk them through their first few minutes as parents, how to hold baby, try and decide who he looks most like. The entire way home, I kept thinking to myself, "I watched his first gasp of air and heard his first cry." I thought it over and over, because it was such a huge honor to be there to see and hear it.

It was a sacred role. I will not forget it.


Elodie's Sweater

While I (im)patiently await the labour of my first client (I have three for this month), I knit my daughter a sweater. This is only the third thing I've ever knit the poor kid. You'd never guess she was the daughter of a knitter.

Elodie sweater

I knit this without a real pattern, just loosely based on the Snug that I knit for my cousin's baby. I cast on 64 stitches, used 20 for the arm holes, and nixed the hood, opting for a little scoop neck instead. It's quite cute, if I do say so myself. Of course she's thrilled.

The one thing she specifically asked for was thumb holes. I put those in for her on the sleeves to keep the sweater from exposing little wrists in the cool spring and falls. It fulfills my requirements for a sweater in that it's easy enough to make it bigger. The sleeves have plenty of length, and I can easily unpick the button edge and expand the front. Depending on how big she gets and how quickly I can even cut the back, pick up the exposed stitches, extend the back and kitchener together.

Elodie sweater 2

There's nothing quite so nice as a cuddly sweater on a cold day, and we've had plenty of cold days here lately. I've already cast on the next sweater, despite having not finished my Royale yet (damn you, second sleeve!). My grandfather was in the hospital this past week with an infection in his spine due to an epidural they gave him for back pain (he's had chronic back pain for 40 years). I decided the man needs a warm sweater. He's seriously one of the kindest people ever, but he never complains. Ever. Despite not having slept more than four hours a night for the last 20 years because of his pain, despite needing frequent baths each day to help combat it, he never complains.

I called him this past week and asked how he was feeling. "Terrible," he said. "I'm really hurting right now." That's when you know it's awful. It was rather shocking to hear him admitting to not being okay. So the man deserves miles of stockinette, hours and hours of work, and a continual woolly hug from me, his first grandchild.