Humbled by a recipient

I don't know about you, but I always feel there's "problems" with my knitting. A spot where I'm not happy with the stitches. A hole where there shouldn't be. Whatever it is, there's always something not right with my FOs. Not....hideous, just not perfect either.

Well, last night I learned a lesson.

I've been working on Baby Bobbi Bear for Nick while waiting on a package with yarn and needles to arrive, so I can begin the other critical projects for this month. Once I was told where the "new yarn" was supposed to come from to start the butt of the bear, I moved pretty fast. Last night, I finished the head and was ready to stuff the bear. Here's where a little history is important.

Nick has always loved stuffed animals. He's had them since before he was born (probably 'cause his mom loves them too shh!). He's had them large and small and in-between. But his main stuffed animal was bought....at a garage sale. ::shakes head:: Who knew? This little brown bear was already worn from loving when I bought it, but Nick loved him just the same. It was named simply Bear. When we packed suitcases for a trip, Bear went in the car in Nick's arms. Then, when he got a little older, Bear could go in the suitcase; but he always went.

In 2001, we built a house and moved to it. One and a quarter acres and room for a dog. We adopted India, then Keyser Soze. And then India discovered her fascination with Bear. You can probably see the end coming, can't you?

This tired, worn out teddy fought valiantly. And when Nick, crying huge tears of real grief, came to me and solemnly asked me to fix him, I looked at the remains of this ragged teddy and floundered. How do I tell him I can't fix it? I've fixed everything until then. I'd already repaired torn seams in Bear a number of times. But this....the damage was too great.

With great dignity and some small amount of ceremony, I took Bear's tattered remnants and said, "I'm sorry honey. I don't know how to fix him. But, if you'll let me put him in a safe place, I'll keep looking for a solution." It wasn't perfect, but he believed I could do it. I wish I did. He relinquished the bits of brown cloth to my care.

Fast forward through time and growing. Mix in a few occasions where he and I encountered Bear's broken body in amongst my yarns for safe-keeping, when Nick's eyes welled with tears and he took Bear from the room for a little quiet time. My heart broke each time this happened.

And then, Randy gave me the Bobbi and Baby Bobbi Bear patterns. And an idea began to form. It was clear no teddy could ever replace Bear. Nick wanted to the real Bear back.

Relying on our familiarity with science-fiction, I hesitantly approached Nick. "What do you think of me making this, for Bear?" I pushed the Baby Bobbi Bear pattern toward him.

"But it wouldn't be Bear."

Here goes nothing. "But it could be his exo-skeleton."

"What?" The light of hope blinked on in his eyes.

"If I knit this up and we put bear inside, like an exo-skeleton..." I left it hovering.

"Yeah! That would work!" The excitement was quick and blinding.

And the hunt for yarn began.

I ended up buying a couple skeins of Red Heart Soft Baby, in a soft lilac color ('cause Nick likes purple) and I was positive it would match pretty closely to the stash of "Knitting" Fun-fur I had gotten for a $1 each at Target a couple years back. It matched exactly.

Last night, I completed the head of the Exo-Skeleton. And Nicky solemnly brought me Bear. We laid Bear over it and talked about how he should go in---just like a suit for an astronaut. One leg in each leg, and the arms sticking out, waiting for arms to be knit on. Then, we began padding and filling around Bear. Finally, a little purple thing with brown worn arms sticking out sat on my bed. I wasn't going to stop until the arms were done.

And Nick sat with me, waiting. It was getting later and later and I was getting tired. I still had ears to make, the duplicate stitching around the neck to do and the face details. There was no way I'd get that done tonight.

I told Nick I'd have to stop once I'd completed the arms. I was just too tired (and in the back of my mind, I worried about risking another fibro flare from staying up so late). He said it was okay, then he paused. "Once the arms are done, can I have him tonight?"

Then I finally understood why I'd thought he looked like his eyes were bothering him. "Of course." With renewed energy, I finished the second arm. "There you go. One Exo-Skeleton, complete."

Nick, who will turn fifteen on December 3rd, took this little purple creation of stitches I wasn't happy with, with holey spots I wished had closed better and a gauge I should have paid more attention to, and hugged it to himself. Now the tears fell freely.

"Thank you." He couldn't speak from the emotions washing over him---I could see them so clearly and understood that to him, I had just worked another Mom Miracle.

Whew.