Earlier this evening I was on the phone with my mom having one of those conversations where you don’t really talk about much– she was cleaning out boxes from her garage while I was busy rustling through junk mail and other miscellaneous papers, trying to keep the mounting tissues from toppling out of the trash can. Sometimes it’s nice just to have your loved one at the other end of the line while you go about your mundane business. She told me about the playdough that she found from way back when, some boxes of writing magazines that were my dads and she thought I might enjoy until she discovered they were musty and in poor condition, and the gigantic inflatable dinosaur that belonged to my brother in his childhood dinosaur-expert years. During the process of cleaning out our respective spaces, we chit chatted a bit about what we had both done (or not done) this week since we were both under the weather. She mentioned that she had crocheted a small square today to experiment with different stitches and that maybe she could use the item as a dish cloth. Wait– my mom crochets? I guess during all of the time we’ve spent together over the years it’s never come up that my mom knows how to crochet and knit. It’s amazing what you can learn about people you’ve known your entire life. I’ve seen my mom sew lots of things (many of my things, I might add!), even do some embroidery and candlewicking, but never have I seen my mom sit down with a crochet hook or a skein of yarn to create something.
I find this amazing and touching because for the past few years I’ve had a strong desire to learn how to knit and crochet. I’ve considered taking a class through the county parks and recreation or the community college, but the course offerings and my schedule never seemed to match up conveniently. Back in early 2005 I was on a leave of absence from work with what I would later learn was the onset of a Rheumatoid Arthritis flare up. During that time I had very little energy and was seriously ill and very depressed. With not being able to work, having little energy and absolutely no idea what was wrong with me, I was looking for something to pass the time in the doctors office waiting areas and at home while M was at his law school classes. As an artist I’ve always found joy creating things with my hands, and so when I found a cheap knitting kit for beginners at a discount store it seemed like the perfect activity to help pass the time. Shortly thereafter, I began having problems using my hands and received a diagnoses that would change my life; I had Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Life was a roller coaster ride in 2005. Between losing a job because of my illness, eventually finding new work (and struggling because I was still very ill), getting married in July, and then moving to Maryland in August (which forced me to leave that job), the knitting kit made itself at home inside a box in the back of my closet and hasn’t seen the light of day until now.
Communication is such an important part of relationships between people. You never know what you’re going to learn from someone or even what talents or gifts they have to share. The thought never crossed my mind to ask my mom if she knew how to knit or crochet– I just assumed she didn’t because I’ve never seen her do it, and she never offered to teach me because she never knew I wanted to learn.
I’ll be learning how to crochet and knit, but it won’t be an instructor from parks and recreation or the community college who will be teaching me. It will be someone who has already taught me more than I could ever expect to learn– and that makes the process all the more special and meaningful to me.