A New Demographic

May 9, 2012 | My Jottings

Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s birthday. She made me a mama when I was still technically a teenager. πŸ™‚

I’ve been trying to pin her down on what kind of family celebration she’d like. A dinner out at her favorite restaurant with the whole gang? A home cooked dinner at my house with the whole gang? A dessert gathering at my house with the whole gang? We usually celebrate birthdays with the whole gang if we have our druthers.

Sharon is being a little ambivalent about what kind of a birthday bash (bash is a very strong word here) to have, and I wonder if it’s because she’s moving into a new demographic. When we talked on the phone last she mentioned this fact herself, that for the next fifteen years she will be checking a new box when filling out forms that ask for age ranges. She will be putting an X in the 35-50 box now. Which means that I am no longer a teenager. I am very, very old.

Here’s a photo of Sharon and me on her third birthday. We had just come home from Germany and our lives had turned topsy-turvy, but a friend helped us feel hopeful and hosted a nice little party for Sharon, with a diminutive little girl-sized cake.

If you could see the ultrasound photo of the little baby girl Sharon is carrying right now (they’re calling her Baby Shamrock to keep us from pestering them about what her name will be), you’d see that her profile already looks just like her mama’s profile did in this photo when she was three.

This little girl grew up to be a very tall, quick-witted, tender-hearted, generous, lovely, outspoken, curious, intelligent, incredibly creative woman.

When we were homeschooling years ago, she conducted an extensive telephone survey (without my knowledge), calling hundreds of people from our local phone book and asking them if A) they believed in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, B) they did not believe in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, or C) they were unsure about the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. She then compiled the results of her survey and fashioned a bar graph on a large poster board, and presented her findings to us at dinner one night.

She had an entrepreneurial streak even as a young girl. She started making bookmarks out of card stock, drawing colorful designs on them and laminating them with sticky clear adhesive sheets, and then going door to door in our neighborhood, selling them for $1.00 each (also without my knowledge). Carolyn and Sara saw how Sharon was making more money in an afternoon than their entire week’s allowance, so they joined in with her making their own bookmarks to sell.

Sharon came from a family of knitters. Is there a knitting gene? Only time and science will tell. But if there is one, then she inherited it from my mother, and when she was about 11 years old she showed an interest in the yarn arts, and seemed to want to be doing something nimble and creative with those long fingers of hers, also inherited from my mother.

She took a knitting class and was the youngest one there. In a group of older women she made her first project — a dishtowel for me that discouraged her because it had a hole or two. She laid knitting aside for several years and focused on her education.

When Michael’s mother died in 1997, Sharon was the grandchild who wanted Bernadine’s huge stash of yarn. She was in college then, earning her degree to teach Social Studies to high schoolers.

Sharon married a fine man, had some fine children, and taught high school for over a decade before deciding to pursue the job that was literally springing up all around them in their Maryland basement. She quit her tenured teaching position and began hand-dyeing yarn and selling it online to customers all over the world. (She sold her business and is now onto other things just as exciting!)

Now Sharon and her family live near us again. I’m so happy about that! There’s no greater blessing than having your whole family nearby, so you can watch them grow and spend time with them and read books with them and go on summer family vacations to the lake with them.

All those traits I saw in Sharon as a child — the creativity, the curiosity, the desire to work with her hands, her penchant for gathering information and always wanting to impart it to others, her generous nature….all these have come into play as she runs her business and offers yarn to the knitters of the world in colorways that sometimes astound me.

She might be the Yarnista to many others, but she will always be Beloved Daughter to me.

And now that she’s moving into a new demographic, I thought it was fitting to do a little stroll down memory lane and mention her here on the blog.

Don’t tell her though. Shhhhh….


  1. Patty says:

    Love, love, love to the Yarnista’s Momma and to HRH Yarnista on this wonderful day!!! Though I must confess that I couldn’t wait to share and put the link to the blog on Ravelry so that all of her knitting minions can read it as well!!!

  2. Just Julie says:

    HRH? Knitting minions? How funny Patty! Shhhhhh….

  3. Rhonda Cary says:

    How wonderful!!! πŸ™‚
    I for one would like to thank you for sharing that and for bringing such an awesome person into the world!!! πŸ™‚

    (and WOW, I did not know we were the same age!)

  4. Just Julie says:

    Hi Rhonda! Thank you for your nice comment!

  5. Helen in Switzerland says:

    What a lovely tribute to Sharon! Happy birthday to her….and well done to you!!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Helen..xxoo

  7. RichelleCK says:

    I see Sharon gets her wonderful way with words from her Mama, too! What a lovely tribute!!!

  8. Just Julie says:

    What a very kind thing to say, Richelle! Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  9. Arlin says:

    Hi Julie,
    I’m directed here from the Three Irish Girls forum on Ravelry. It’s lovely to read about Sharon’s birthday and childhood from your standpoint; thank you so much for sharing it with us.
    I also read your ‘thirty-three years ago’ post and it brought me to such a mixture of emotions; I was really moved. Again, thanks for sharing such a personal story. I love seeing how Sharon has grown from a baby daughter who brought joy to you to an adult daughter who still brings joy to you. I wish I could be a daughter that my mom would be as proud of, as Sharon to you.

    PS: I see where Sharon’s good and witty writing skills come from! Definitely genetics!

    Love and God bless your family always,
    Arlin in Indonesia

  10. Just Julie says:

    Hello Arlin…your words were so encouraging…thank you very much. Patty G. told me she was going to link this post to Ravelry — very exciting. πŸ™‚ Yes, I am proud of Sharon and she brings me joy. And I have two other daughters who are my pride and joy as well – Carolyn and Sara. Have a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad you stopped by…God bless you.

  11. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Happy Birthday, Sharon. You are such a beautiful mom, successful
    business woman and a terrific wife. Julie, you must be so happy
    with your family. Love you all.

  12. Just Julie says:

    Sharon will be so blessed by your comments, dear Dorothy. The same words can be said of you, x10. LY…

  13. Jessica says:

    This was interesting because I remember the day I had to check the 35-50 age bracket on my CBS registration form. It was a little….traumatic! And even though I’ve been in that bracket for a couple years now, I still think it’s kind of crazy when I see it in writing.

  14. Just Julie says:

    Just wait until you get to the next bracket, Jessica. It’s a little disorienting. πŸ™‚ You look like you’re in your twenties though.

  15. Carolyn says:

    I will have you know I made 25.00 from those ugly homemade bookmarks!

  16. Just Julie says:

    $25! That was a lot of money for a young person back then. And I never thought they were ugly…many of them were quite unique and pretty. πŸ™‚

  17. Ganeida says:

    And the results of the Loch Ness survey were….?

  18. Just Julie says:

    You know, now that you mention it, Ganeida, I can’t remember. I think it might have been that most people did not, followed closely by the unsure category. How about you? What would you have answered? πŸ™‚

  19. Ganeida says:

    Oh, I’m a believer! lol

  20. Just Julie says:


  21. Ember says:

    “There’s no greater blessing than having your whole family nearby”
    I wholeheartedly second that.
    I too, Ganeida, am a believer. I was surprised to discover this; until I read here about Sharon’s survey, I don’t think I’d ever seriously asked myself the question.

  22. Just Julie says:

    We visited the Loch Ness Visitor’s center while near Inverness and watched a very interesting documentary they made. It showed the behind the scenes things we’re not often told about many of the famous photos, and the people behind the “hoaxes.” I was totally disappointed. I know they can’t fully know, but the Visitor’s Center surely seemed to not want people to believe….. πŸ™‚

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