Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Funny things they say to you at work...

I was standing at the copier waiting for some copies to finish when a co-worker says to me "You must be so tired, I don't know how you talk so much during the day, do you drink?"

I spend the majority of my day explaining things to people. I use a lot of words in a day, granted, I repeat a lot of them too. "Click on the star icon, no, the star, no, the gold star icon", "you have to enter the data in the correct format using numbers and slashes, no that's a dash you need to use a slash, no this key right here" "No! Don't use the back button... oh, well, you just lost all your information. Yes, you have to do it all over again; yes I know, you hate computers."

Perhaps now the "do you drink" question makes more sense...

The answer no, but sometimes I wish I could.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Be still my heart…

I had one of those moments that you want to capture forever and keep it somewhere so you can take it out and re-experience it from time to time.

I have been teaching my 18 year old daughter how to knit. This summer I showed her how to cast on and the knit stitch. She diligently set about making and frogging numerous squares and scarves to practice with and then seemed to get bored.

Right before Christmas she found a pattern for Civil War era Muffatees and wanted to know if I could make them. She picked out some yarn and I made them for her in an evening.

She sent me an email at work telling me she had forgotten how to cast on so I told her I’d show her when on I got home but that she could check my bookmarks and got to the Knitting Help site and look at the videos.

I got home that night and she once again asked me to show her how to cast on. She sat busily on the couch casting on and then knitting. It was so wonderful to be sitting on the couch, she at one end and me at the other, parallel knitting. She began taking her knitting to work and when she rode the bus. Be still my heart…

But here comes the real moment to be captured and saved forever. We had spent the afternoon running around, going to Michael’s and JoAnn’s and were on the bus heading home. It was getting dark by this time. She usually puts her iPod on to block out the noise on the bus and she did that. Then she whips out her knitting and proceeds to knit in public, on the bus in near darkness. I wanted to hug her. It was amazing to see something that was passed down to me through my Grandmother, my Mother, me and now to her.

That night she finished her first garter stitch scarf. It was made from Red Heart’s soft yarn using size 6 needles so it was tightly knit and substantial. It had some little holes, and the edges were a bit in and out but it was the most beautiful scarf I had ever seen.

Last night she asked me to teach her how to purl. So I had her cast on and knit one row and then showed her how to purl. This time I had her use size 8 needles with her Simply Soft yarn left from a bag I had made. It took a few repetitions but she got it! I told her that if she alternated her knit and purl rows, she would get the stockinet stitch.

Again she worked away, this time wearing her newly finished scarf, while I was on the computer and then I hear this question: is it supposed to curl up like this? I took a look at her work and it was beautiful. Nice straight even stitches that curled a bit on the bottom. I almost started to tear up and told her how great it looked for a first try. I also told her about using garter stitch borders to keep the curling from happening. We talked about how to tell the difference between knit and purl stitches.

She is getting ready to leave the nest in a few months. This experience with her is one I will now cherish forever. I have gotten to pass along to her the building blocks of knitting. She can add this to her tool box of other crafting skills and her ever growing box of life skills. And it is one more connection to knit us together even as the apron strings are loosened and cut, moving closer while at the same time separating.

kni 001

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A time of change

I am beginning to look into the abyss of change. All around me it is beginning, moving inexorably forward completely out of my control. It is starting as a trickle like a small mountain stream but already I hear the rumbles of white water ahead.

She has one foot out the door and is not looking back. I hear her speaking of her new life away from me, one in which I will play only a small, far away role. Realizing that sooner than later I will not wake up to see her every day, we will not say goodnight to each other every night, I will not hear the question are you going to take a shower first of should I.

Soon she will be a distant voice on the phone, a blinking message in my email box, the occasional card in the mail.

But this is how it’s supposed to be isn’t it? They are with you for a time and then you set them free to fly the nest, to create a nest of their own, to have adventures near and far, to make their mark in the world.

I have known this intuitively since I carried her in my womb, I have pontificated about this since I first held her in my arms. I know this. So why is it feeling like a complete surprise to me now?

We are approaching the finish line, making the final preparations, crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s, getting her ducks in a row and every other cliché one can think of, each step getting closer to the final take off and I find myself hanging on for dear life.

How does one gracefully step out of the way? How does one untie that very last knot on the apron? How does one stand at the front door smiling, waving and saying good bye and watching them sail off into uncharted territory?

I guess you take a deep breath, untie that knot and know that you’ve done your job. There is a saying in knitting that says “Trust the pattern”. I guess in this case I have to trust the job I’ve done and the choices I’ve made and trust that she is ready for the world.