The extended family on my paternal grandmother's side of the family gets together every year for food and fellowship. It is a time for us to "ooh" and "aah" over the new babies, marvel at how much the young'uns have grown and visit with the 'older' generation while we still have the chance. This year's celebration was moved up a few months to celebrate a big milestone in the family- my great Aunt Lib's 80th birthday. She is the first in the family to turn 80 and had no idea the party was moved up so we could all celebrate with her. She was married to the oldest in the family (Pete) and everyone just loves her to pieces. Sadly, Uncle Pete died a few years ago and he is sorely missed. Some of my earliest memories of the big Edward's gatherings revolve around Uncle Pete and Aunt Lib. (I did not realize how much I still miss him until now- sitting here replaying all those tender moments with him and I can't hold back the tears.) I can still see his twinkling blue eyes. He was one of those people that when he smiled (and he was always smiling when he was surrounded by family) his eyes smiled too. You could always feel the joy that seemed to radiate from him. He had a way of making each person in the family feel like the most important person in the room. That is saying quite a lot considering our family gatherings swelled to upwards of 80 people. When I was maybe 4 or 5 I remember sitting on his knee and him telling me, "A gal as pretty as you has gotta learn how to wink." He sat there giggling at my first fumbling attempts to close one eye at a time just the way he showed me. I think for the next month I winked at everything that moved. He was always my favorite uncle.
Aunt Lib was just made for him. She is not even five feet tall and for as long as I can remember she has had that silvery white bob. She also is happiest surrounded by family. I have only seen her once without a smile-at Pete's funeral. Her smile could light up a room. She is the most sweet and humble person I have ever met. She seemed to have magic pockets that always contained candy (maybe that was what kept her so sweet!) and the kids in the family knew that if Aunt Lib was offering candy there was no need to ask Mom and Dad if it was ok to have a piece. She gives the warmest hugs that are always followed by, "I am so glad to see you. It is such a blessing you are here and I love you." As you might imagine, she was right there on the top of my list of favorite relatives.
When my Grandmother told me we were having a surprise party for Aunt Lib's 80th birthday I knew I wanted to make her something. She is a devout Bible reading Christian and I knew she would appreciate a pretty bookmark to tuck into her Bible. She was very happy with her gift- and even more impressed that I actually made it. "Well, you are just an artist! It is beautiful," she told me as tears glistened in her eyes. It is odd, her reaction was the most touching reaction I have ever received after giving a knitted or crocheted gift and it was the most simple of gift of all. It was harder to block it that it was to crochet it. My sweet Aunt Lib, I love you so much and I am blessed that you are part of the family!
All pattern details are on Ravelry.