Dar was my maternal great-grandma. Her given name was Grace (which she always thought was "silly") but for some unknown reason an aunt started calling her Dar as a child and it stuck.
Picture a mixture of Lucille Ball, Martha Stewart and Mother Theresa. And since I only knew her from the perspective of an adoring little girl who soaked up every ounce of nurturing I could get, she became the roll model of my heart and hands. She was my idea of perfection. Sometimes I even think that there is such a thing as genetic memory, like the first time I smelled lilacs wasn't the first time.
But I digress. Dar was a seamstress, a knitter, a cook, a baker, a gardener, a story teller, a back rubber, a boo boo kisser and a total nut. But her greatest talent was her ability to make each of us great-grandchildren feel like her favorite at some point. Of course, I always knew the truth... but I would never tell the others for fear of hurting their feelings.
For a long time as a young woman I had a hard time trying to live up to her image, wanting to be her. But then I realized that the things about her that were in me were gifts, not burdens, and that I would do my best to be a woman that she would want to knit with or laugh with rather than trying to duplicate her (as if anyone could). I do, however, copy one thing that she always did... I stitch a little xoxo onto the edge of anything I make for someone I love. And I really believe in what she taught me... "every stitch a loving thought".