Crocheting Dutch Doilies

Crocheting with my grandmother, “Oma” in the winter is a warm memory from my first year of marriage. I had moved far away from friends to be with my husband, and was admittedly a little lonely (although I am not sure I admitted it at the time).

It just so happened that my widowed grandmother lived across the street from me, and I suspected she was lonely too. So about once a week in the evening, I would go visit. We would sit together, have tea, and talk about crocheting, needlepoint, and other handiwork. She could still make the intricate, cotton thread doilies at her age, from memory.

This doily was a wedding gift from my husband's Oma. She was in her 90s when she made it.

She would also talk to me about her teen years in Holland, and about marriage. She would sometimes give me advice, but I think she mostly listened. She was a good soul, and I felt very safe with her. I felt like I could tell her anything, and that she wouldn’t think less of me for it. I really don’t know how much I did share with her, but maybe she saw through me anyway. And that was okay.

Just being in her presence, especially by myself with no other family members present, was a blessing. It was like a little oasis. I always left her place happy, with songs in my heart.

Not once when I phoned her to ask if I could visit did she say no. True hospitality. I am thankful that I had a caring Oma. I am glad that I got to know her a little better on my own terms, before her decline.

She gave me the gift of herself, and I am grateful.

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11 thoughts on “Crocheting Dutch Doilies

  1. What beautiful handiwork… and what sweet memories must be attached.

    My grandmother (we usually call them “Maw Maw” in South Louisiana) was a very special lady, too. Maw Maw didn’t really have aptitude for the typical grandmother things (she didn’t sew/crochet/knit, her cooking was not exceptional, etc.), but — like any grandmother who is true to her calling — she gave the gift of herself. She was a woman of few words, who had minimal education, but she possessed a wisdom and a learned patience that continues to marvel me every time I stop to remember any of the moments we shared.

    As a child, you don’t necessarily find your grandparents remarkable. Maybe it’s because the world isn’t such a scary place when you’re still small enough to be protected by them — too young to notice their guiding hands. Now that I’m older — when uncertainty finds me searching for comfort — I look back on those memories of her and realize how lucky I was just to be in her presence.

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    • That is really inspirational, Jason. You could do a blog post about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      By the way, do you happen to be from Acadian descent? So many Acadians were forcibly exported from my native Nova Scotia to Southern Louisiana. Your mention of “Maw Maw” got me thinking… a derivative of French/Acadian “maman”…

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      • Hi Brenda! Actually, my ancestry is primarily Scotch-Irish. Records are sketchy because of the whole Irish thing, but it seems my great-great-great grandfather left Belfast, headed for America, and somehow found his way to Southeast Louisiana.

        Interestingly enough, though, one of my sisters-in-law is definitely “Cajun” as her last name is Robichaux. There is definitely a ton of French/Acadian influence throughout Louisiana — hard to look in any direction without seeing it! My love of gumbo is certainly a testament to that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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