Tonight I finished my 19th bear, named Sean after a nephew. I used up the last bit of yellow I had from a Gryffindor hat and Gryffindor-themed bears, as well as making a good dent in a bunch of burgundy and navy blue acrylic obtained at a stash exchange for the purpose of making bears. The acrylic is Caron Simply Soft, which is very soft and works great for bear knitting! And oh! the generous yardage!
As I’ve mentioned, my goal for 2014 is 14 bears. I’ve sent off 5 (yay, ahead of schedule!!), and I want to have 3 to deliver in person to the Mother Bear Project booth at Stitches West next week, so I’m right on schedule for that, as it only takes about two days for me to finish a bear. I think this is the best face I’ve done so far. I’ve realized that instead of embroidering over a few spaces for eyes or a nose, it looks better if I repeat the same stitch in the same spot about 4-5 times. That way the stitches aren’t spread out, and they stand out nicely.
And in other news, this afternoon I had a sobering encounter that made me count my blessings, and hopefully can curb my complaints about daily life….. I was walking home with the wee boy after completing a big (for me) errand when I passed a woman standing in front of a gas station, holding a cardboard sign, you know, the type panhandlers hold up to drivers to ask for money. At a glance, I read “STRANDED,” and my eyes went to the 3 or so children sitting on the curb next to her with suitcases in front of them. I tend to walk quickly, so it was a few paces before I could stop safely (out of the entrance to the gas station) to think about doing something. I checked my wallet, first thinking of how much I could spare before just taking out all the cash I had and walking back to her. I held it out to her, and her eyes welled up as she took it. I was completely choking up, thinking of this mom having so much trouble that she was asking strangers to help her at the side of a busy San Francisco street. I mumbled some nonsense before remembering that I had more to offer. I asked, “Could you use a sandwich?” and she said softly, “yes!” So I took out what was left of the lunch the wee boy and I had grabbed (we’d each only eaten a half of the sandwich and bagel we’d gotten for lunch– they were cut in half, not leftover gnawed bits :0), and gave the bag to her. We were both welling up and she said, “thanks for stopping,” as I patted her shoulder and managed to choke out, “good luck.” I had to walk away quickly before I ended up bursting into tears in front of her.
Ugh. This has stuck with me all day, and I hope that the woman and her children are ok. Living in San Francisco, seeing panhandlers or homeless people is, unfortunately, common. Seeing people panhandling doesn’t usually affect me like this, but it’s not often that it’s a clean-cut young woman with children. I fact, I’ve never seen children along. I think it’s easier to feel connected, as a mom, to someone who is also responsible for the well-being of little ones, and my mind just zapped to how could I not help, if I was totally able to do so? Not that I’m rolling in dough, but I’m sure that bit of cash meant more to her than it would have to me. What happened that this mom had to resort to asking complete strangers for help? I know it has to take a lot of guts and humility to do what she did, standing with a cardboard sign, hoping that some people would help her out, admitting to the world that she needed help.
I’m not sure I have a point with this, but to put some sort of conclusion to my ramblings, 1) I’m very grateful for the comfortable life I have. A good home in a nice neighborhood, a stable home life, stable income, friends and family I can count on. 2) Our acts of charity, however small to us, can mean a lot to people who are struggling. 3) More charity knitting, more charity giving!!
And if you have a moment, please say a small prayer for the mom and kids, wish them shelter, food, and safe passage home. It can’t hurt.