It's been a week. I want to say straight out that nothing bad has happened to me (except in the most minor sense; more later on a small knitting snafu); and let me further add my up-front apologies for taking you on a guided tour of my confused and jumbled thoughts. But two people I know have had friends lose children this week (three and five years old), and have had to face the horror of going to a funeral for a young child, and of trying to find any words at all to say to parents who are dealing with every parent's worst nightmare.
So, while I am not directly affected by these terrible losses, it -- necessarily, I think -- makes me think. I think that most parents try not to dwell on the possibility of facing such a loss; I can't even bring myself to write about it directly here (I've been trying to bring myself up to that fence all week, and I'm sorry, but I can't), and opening the door in my mind that leads to that nightmare quite literally makes me sick to my stomach. I don't think anyone could function while constantly focusing on the direst of possibilities. Denial is much easier. There are times, though, when that denial gets shoved aside, as it has for me this week. The temptation is to embrace the "live each moment as if it were your (or someone else's) last" philosophy, a hedonistic call to make each instant the best possible last moment there could be. But that's untenable, too. For one thing, I'd think it would get exhausting, and for another, I'm not sure that it would lead to any kind of good life in the end. I mean, if I knew that tonight were my last, I'd be curled up on the couch with my family, talking and laughing and sharing wonderful food, drinking Veuve Cliquot and never going to bed, but honestly, there's no way I could keep that up (or, I'm guessing, should).
So where does one go with this? What would I want, were I to find at some moment that a relationship with someone had ended, that the totality of my interactions with that person was complete, had already been encompassed? I think that what I would want is to know that I did the rightest thing that I knew how to do in each moment of that relationship.
Let me say first that I'm nowhere near that ideal. And let me say second that this doesn't mean that I think that the goal is to always make an unregrettable decision, or one that I wouldn't do differently at a future time; an important part of any decision is taking into account what has been learned from similar experiences in the past. I guess I am simply saying that it seems to me that the best thing I can learn from taking a glimpse through that dark doorway of potential loss is to be more mindful. To pay attention to each moment as it comes. To not act in distraction or out of habit, but to consciously be. (I know, I know, idealistic at best, right? This is a practice, not an achievement.) What I want then, is to take this reminder as a call, not to fear, but to engagement. I don't know if that's the best thing, or some attempt to feel less out of control of an inherently uncontrollable situation, but it feels like the rightest thing I know how to do with what I'm feeling right now.
I've also been hugging the girls even more than usual this week.
Of course, I've been knitting through all of these thoughts (isn't that what we do?). I've done so much knitting and thinking, in fact, that I've finished Cheryl's socks. I have been delighted with this yarn; it's been wonderful to knit (so soft), and the shadowed stripes are subtle and lovely.
The colors in these pictures are pretty true to life on my monitor.
To recap, these are a pair of socks whose design I improvised myself, knitted on my size one Celtic Swans, using the Bunny Patch yarn from NewHue Handspun Yarns, in the Oasis colorway. There are 200 yards in each skein, and to make these size eight socks, I used almost all of each of the two skeins I started with. Here's what I had left.
I probably could have squeezed out another inch on the foot or leg with these. I had such fun knitting with this yarn -- thanks, Cheryl, for letting me try it out! I've been contemplating my two skeins, in the gorgeous Jacob's coat colorway, and trying to decide what to knit with them. After trying on these socks this morning to take pictures (I couldn't find my sock blockers to save my life; my feet were clean, Cheryl, I promise), I think that I'm leaning towards knitting them again for myself. We'll see...
Yesterday, Rick came into our bedroom and asked me, "Do we know any babies who need a neckwarmer?" A pause, then he added, "Babies with small heads."
Yup, he accidentally (I'm taking him at his word on this) threw my lovely alpaca neckwarmer in the (shudder) washing machine. The brand-new washing machine. The washing machine that I now realize really is out to get me (it couldn't find an airlock, so it did the next-best thing instead).
Why, yes, that huge silver thing is the corner of my laptop, why do you ask? It is to cry.
Anyone have any suggestions for what to do with the softest, most inelastic tube of luscious felted alpaca ever?
Edited to add: I really debated whether to pull the trigger on this post. It sounds so much like, "Look, someone's faced a tragedy, let's talk about me!", but that isn't how I mean it or what I am feeling. It seems to me that, in all the collective wisdom of those of you who are reading this, someone might have a thought or experience to share, so I'm going to take a chance.