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Samantha, my youngest child, has always been the most protected. I've knitted for her steadily all along, believing that my hand-made garments would somehow shield her. Maybe it's because she was a preemie—her miniature face overwhelmed by the baby bonnets I'd knitted months earlier. But she grew heartily, becoming an energetic, red-haired mop-top with strong lungs, much fiercer than her brothers. She loved to sing and got good parts in school musicals, belting out songs and reveling in the applause.
Now a teen, Samantha's the classic package of ups and downs—surprising kindnesses, prickly outbursts, sentimental jags—wrapped in creative chaos. She did well in high school, was passionate about Drama Club and Math Team. College acceptances arrived; she agonized over two Midwestern universities, and oddly, all I thought of was what to knit for her to take to Chicago, against whose harsh winters she needed protection.
Then I see this amazing pattern, an adorable, vivacious dress, with chevrons of snappy color angling up and down, and I think, "That’s my beautiful Sammy girl." I buy the yarn and start. Knitted on a number 9 circular in machine-washable, destruction-proof Heartland, it's undoubtedly the most enjoyable project I've ever tackled. It goes fast. Stitch and color variation make it interesting; imagining Sammy in it is, simply, a pleasure.
Even with all this forethought, I wasn’t ready for her response when I gave her the dress as she left for Freshman Orientation. For once, my irrepressible daughter was speechless, and then, after we hugged she whispered, "Mama, this is the most absolutely perfect thing you’ve ever knitted for me."
She sent me a photo-text last week. Standing on the Lake Michigan shore, she’s wearing the zig zag dress over a long-sleeved black tee, leggings, and sheepskin boots. She's got on a scarf, a hat, a sweater, and mittens that I knitted, too, but everything pales beside this dress.
She wrote, "Mama, look, I'm covered in love!"
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Selma Moss-Ward is a freelance writer who combines her love of writing and of knitting in her columns, stories, and blog posts. Selma is also an active classical musician and the caretaker of five wonderful pets. She lives with them and her husband in Rhode Island.