Haley Paetkau (right) taught her little brother Jacob to knit so they could tackle the project together. (Photo courtesy Steve Sxwithul’txw)

Greater Victoria kids social distancing from their father knit blanket to keep him warm

‘It was an absolutely stunning gift,’ proud father says

Steve Sxwithul’txw hasn’t hugged his kids since early March.

As the situation with the COVID-19 began to worsen, the Greater Victoria father made the difficult decision to social distance from his children Haley, 11, and Jacob, 7, Paetkau, during the pandemic as he’s the designated “grocery runner” and the kids are high-risk – Haley has asthma and Jacob has severe allergies, he explained.

Sxwithul’txw was brought to tears on Saturday morning when his children surprised him with a hand-knit Easter blanket to keep him warm until they can hug him again.

READ ALSO: Religious leaders look at options to comply with COVID-19 as holiday weeks begin

He knew the kids had started knitting but had no idea they were secretly making something for him. They’d collected wool on various trips to Michael’s with their mom and had originally told Sxwithul’txw that their plan was to knit a patchwork blanket and sell per-square to collect funds for charity.

When he arrived at the kids’ home on April 11 to hide Easter eggs, they surprised him with a large box. Inside was a woollen purple, pink, light blue and turquoise patchwork blanket. The kids explained that the blanket was meant to be a stand-in until they can give him a hug again.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

“It’s something you just don’t expect to see,” he said proudly. “It was an absolutely stunning gift.”

What made the gift even more special, was that Sxwithul’txw’s mom and grandmother were Cowichan First Nation knitters so the kids were connecting with their heritage. He knew that Haley had learned to knit from watching her grandmother make sweaters but said it was a “step above” to learn that his daughter has taught her little brother the craft too.

Not hugging his children has been “brutal” and Sxwithul’txw never expected to see a global health crisis like this one in his lifetime – let alone in his children’s.

READ ALSO: Sooke woman, 93, sews aprons for grocery store workers

“It’s the toughest thing we’ve ever had to go through,” he said, noting that he’s very close with his kids.

Sxwithul’txw has been visiting Haley and Jacob at least once a day since the pandemic began. They ride bikes, talk and play – all from six feet apart. He pointed out that it’s been especially hard for Jacob to understand why he can’t have a hug, but knows it’s the right thing to do to keep them safe.

“I remind them every day that I’m still here and we’ll get through this.”

READ ALSO: B.C. custody case highlights uncharted territory for split parents amid COVID-19

The hand-knit blanket almost makes up for the lack of tiny hugs and Sxwithul’txw said he’ll think of them every time he sees it. He plans to keep the gift forever and said he might resort to dragging his special new blanket everywhere with him like Charlie Brown’s friend Linus.

He’s not sure what the kids plan to knit next but wouldn’t be surprised if they go back to their original charity idea. He added that they are aware of how privileged they are and understand how valuable life is.

“They come up with this stuff on their own,” he emphasized. “This is how we raised them – I’m a proud dad.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CoronavirusVictoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Steve Sxwithul’txw and his kids spend time together from a distance during the pandemic so that they don’t get sick. (Photo courtesy Steve Sxwithul’txw)

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Saanich serves up virtual Strawberry Festival

Residents invited to look back on 54 years of festivals

PHOTOS: Dual rallies take over Legislature lawn on Canada Day

Resist Canada 153 highlighted colonization and genocide, Unify the People called COVID a hoax

VicPD investigating possible hate crime on BC Transit bus

A young Black man was randomly struck by a Caucasian man who he did not know

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Library’s Summer Reading Club goes virtual

This literacy program is usually offered in person

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read