Knitting Life's Lessons


It's Mother's Day, and I'm waxing a little nostalgic after calls from both my grown children and their families. Our conversations were full of laughter and news of all five grandchildren. We had a birthday to celebrate too, as Grace, the oldest, turns 8 today. She even made her own birthday cake with just a little assistance from Mom. I'm so proud of you, Gracie!

Now I've gone back in my mind more than 65 years to my earliest memories of my own mother and of learning to knit. (That's her in the picture when she graduated from nursing school some years before my arrival into the world.) Mom was an avid knitter, and she used to sit me on the couch beside her with a pair of needles (about size 8 is a good size for a beginner) onto which she had cast some stitches and knit a few rows for me, so I could 'knit' beside her while she worked on her own project. Most of the time my interest lasted only long enough to get into a terrible tangle or unravel all the stitches she had put on. But one day I managed to make a stitch - and then another and another. I was so excited! "Look Mama! I made a stitch!" "Look Mama, I finished this whole row!" "What do I do next?" And she would get me sorted out and on to the next step, which at that stage wasn't much more than countless tiny scarves for my dolls. But I was off and running... I had a new skill which would serve me well for many years.

Mom is 97 now and failing rapidly. She has become the one who needs to be mothered herself. Living almost 3000 miles away from her as I do, means that my three sisters are providing that care without me. I am more grateful to them than I can say. So to you, Diana, Daphne and Cathie, my unending thanks on this Mother's Day. I know how hard it must be to watch Mom's faculties diminish before your eyes.

So the circle of life goes on. In the blink of an eye I have gone from the child learning at my mother's knee, to the mother of active young boys with little time for knitting or reflection, to the grandmother who knows the pleasure of teaching my own granddaughters to knit and sew. How did it happen so fast? And where does it go from here?

I do know that I will keep on knitting and thereby reflecting on this passing life and trying to make some sense of it as long as possible. I can't help but wonder if Mom knew all those years ago that she was giving me a much larger tool for life than a pair of knitting needles.

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