Knit together

March 14th, 2011 § 10 comments

My parents came to visit on Saturday. They stayed for 24 hours, took the kids out for dinner that night and played lots of games of hide-and-go-seek. Nothing extraordinary, nothing particularly notable. It is in these ordinary moments that I find the most pleasure… seeing my parents and my children enjoying each other’s company.

My mother arrives like an environmentally conscious Santa Claus, toting a reusable grocery bag full of mysterious treasures for the kids. Many are newspaper clippings: suggestions for books or reviews of movies they might have seen. Often they are word or logic puzzles from their local paper; for me there are usually cartoons. ┬áThere’s usually something from the dollar store. Tristan is usually obsessed with whatever she brings while she is here; as soon as she leaves, so too does his interest in the item (hence the inherent beauty of the low price).

Another bag of my mother’s always contains her current knitting project. She knits in the car while my father drives. Tristan loves to wrap the house in the balls of yarn; he criss-crosses the furniture legs, counters, and walls until they are spiderwebbed. Paige has learned to knit and whenever Nana comes she enthusiastically picks up her project to join in while my mom knits. Mom knits wherever she goes. Watching Colin’s tennis lesson, sitting and listening to Paige play piano, watching Tristan ride his tricycle. She almost never looks down at her hands, something I was never able to master.

It was warm and sunny this weekend… a welcome break from the endless weeks of snow, ice, and cold we’ve had here in Connecticut. My mother sat out on the front step with Paige and they knit together while Colin shot baskets and Tristan rode his bike. I peered out the window from the kitchen at them sitting there. It made me sad and happy at the same time. I tweeted: “My mom is outside on front step teaching Paige advanced knitting techniques. I smile, I miss my MIL (mother-in-law), I feel lucky to see this moment.”

I can’t separate out the happiness of seeing my children with my mom with the sadness of wishing Barbara were here, too. Maybe that’s selfish. I know there are so many children who don’t have any grandparents that are alive, and mine still have three. But that is part of grief, I think… the effect it can have on happiness. It takes the purity away. I couldn’t just be happy to see the scene; I necessarily wished their other grandmother could have those moments.

I grabbed my phone and went outside. I wanted to capture the picture so mind won’t forget. Children often remember the quiet moments more than the big, fancy events. Paige will always associate knitting with my mom… she’s treasure the talks they had, side by side, as she knit and my mom helped her when she made a mistake. For Colin, having my dad watch him play tennis is one of the ways he likes to share with my parents. He’s proud, and knows my father is proud of him. He always gives a resounding “YES!” when I say Grandpa will be there to watch him play.

After my mom left Paige continued to knit. Shortly thereafter I knocked on her bedroom door. She answered, tears welling up in her eyes. She told me she had made a mistake. She had tried to correct it, but further wrecked the piece she was working on. She had ripped all of her work out. She would start over.

And so she did. And now, as I type, she’s sitting in a chair working diligently to recreate the work she destroyed. I know she’ll work until she goes to bed.

I know how quickly life can change.

For now, I revel in the glory of the ordinary, the everyday, the mundane.


§ 10 Responses to Knit together"

  • Shari Lentz says:

    A refreshing piece! Enjoyed!

  • Chris Yerkes says:

    The simplicity of this makes it so beautiful. Your parents and your family spent rich time together sharing what they enjoyed with one another. I love the image of your mom picking up things here and there along the way that she knows would be meaningful. I’m sure all of these things will be precious memories.

  • Susan Minasian says:

    I could “see” your mother doing those things. I can imagine your father being proud. I could also “see” you observing the crowd.
    And you are so correct. Loss is loss.
    My daughter Anna lost all three grandparents within three years. My father died when I was 4. She even misses him. She says…I miss him because I didn’t get to know him.
    So…we love who is here.
    That’s who we have.
    And we will always miss who is missing.

  • Ann Gregory says:

    Lovely writing about a subject I never tire reading about.

  • I understand those moments. My kids have lost their other grandma, ironically I posted about this topic today too, and they understand cherishing the little moments as well. What a beautiful family you have and so glad you were able to spend some great time with your mom.

  • Delia says:

    Wonderful story, Lisa!

  • Sarah says:

    Really a beautiful post (even if it did not mention one of my favorite words, knitting, I would still love it). I wonder if, like me, your mom can be fully present while knitting? In some ways, I think I am almost more present while knitting then if I am just trying to focus on a conversation. I wonder if there are other activities that people do where they can carry on with their activity and be able to pay attention and contribute to what ever is happening around them?

    I love the connection you describe between your parents and children. Thanks again for your thoughtful post!

  • Andrea Pierpont says:

    Beautiful post, Lisa. My mom is a knitter too. I vaguely remember now all the times she led me through knitting scarves or mitten patterns as a child. But the really amazing thing is that I get to witness my own childhood when I watch her teach my daughters to knit. It’s almost like time travel. I didn’t realize I was so still as a child, but they show me a scene of what it must have been like. I lost my dog when I was in college and my mom knew that I needed something to help me through it. She took me to a yarn shop, had me pick out a pattern for a sweater, and for a few weeks in the month of January, in cold and snowy Connecticut, she helped me knit and heal. Knit together.

  • Thank you for the wonderful post. It reminded me of the time my son spent with his Grandfather (my Dad – who I lost to cancer in 2007). We were very close and my son spent as much time as he could with him whenever he came to visit us in Washington from NY and when we went to NY as well.

    I cherish the memories of my Dad and the good conversations we had. And I hope my son can do the same.

  • Sue says:

    A beautiful post. I wonder why so many had grandparents on the mind recently? I had written most of my post (about grandparents) a little over a week ago, planning to post it last weekend. Then the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, including my extended family. I didn’t feel I could do a post right after that. Anyway, you’re so very right: it’s hard to take in the sweetness of watching your kids with your mom, without thinking of what your mother-in-law has missed. As I’ve watched my daughter with her grandparents, I think of my own that I didn’t know. So bittersweet. You have a beautiful family. Each generation is a gift to the ones that come before and after.

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