Why a picture of my foot to mark such an occasion? Do you see that little mole? My nana and I have the same birthmark. Mine use to be bigger like hers. Or it took up the same amount of space on my foot as it did on her foot, I can’t really tell, I didn’t pay enough attention.
I normally don’t like to put a lot of words to something so personal on such a public place but my nana is the one that taught me how to sew. Sewing has given me so much joy and opportunity, that really I have to acknowledge my nana here.
My papa and her had owned a sewing machine store in Worcester, MA. I loved the machines even as a toddler. My parents, brothers, and I lived above the store until I was three. Even after we moved my nana would babysit me and my brother at the store. She sewed beautifully. As children we always received night gowns, pajamas, coats, or costumes that she had made. She made things beautifully. No fuss.
She bought me my first sewing machine, a Singer, when I was 14. She got it at a yard sale and had it cleaned and fixed up for me. Teaching me that really solid useful machines can be found and fixed up. She also had a love of thrift stores which imparted itself onto me. You could always find something and modify it. In her last years of life she would refer to herself as a tough “old yank[ee]” and having seen her actions and attitudes I believe it and agree.
I had the machine for 10 years before the gears disintegrated from how much I used it and I couldn’t get it fixed. This was when I lived in Minnesota. This is also the time I noticed what I thought to be my mole shrinking and when my nana started forgetting. I would call her and she would ask when I was coming over to visit. I would have to explain I lived far away and it would be a while. We had gone from seeing each other so much to not seeing each other at all. I worried that when my mole completely went away she would die.
Since I moved back to Massachusetts I wanted to ask if I could take a picture of our feet together. I never asked because my nana hasn’t been in charge of herself in about 10 years. It was such a personal request. I wanted it to be just between the two of us. I get so shy when it comes to asking for things that I really want. Also I am weird enough to my dear family that I try not to make things weirder. I am kicking myself that I didn’t ask for all the time I spent with my nana at the beach or sleepovers or just having tea together before she developed dementia. I know she would have let me.
March 8th I got to see my nana alive for the last time. I was glad that my baby got to sit on her lap even if neither of them would remember the meeting.