Thursday, June 17, 2010


You may know how I learned to knit. It was in college, a friend of my boyfriend (the friend's name was Jeff) was knitting while watching football on a November afternoon. He taught me to knit, and then to purl, and the lessons stopped there, since that was all he knew. His grandmother had taught him how, in an effort to keep a little boy occupied while she served tea and entertained her lady friends. You can make a scarf with knits and purls, but if you want anything else, you need to upgrade.

I taught myself to crochet when I was pregnant with lil' b. My mother accidentally got me a crochet baby blanket pattern instead of a knit pattern. She was so upset with herself that I assured her that crochet was "easy" and I'd have no problem picking it up. Imagine my frustration when I could not for the life of me figure out how to TURN a piece.

Like any other craft I've tried, motherhood brought with it some of its own unique challenges. The nurses had taught me how to put on a diaper, and I innately knew how to shush and bounce, but eventually you stumble on that seemingly insurmountable challenge that there is no ready solution for. Like when your baby won't take a bottle. At all.

My first social group experience was at Ewe-Nique in Brighton. I went out on a limb, did something VERY out of character for someone of my decidedly anti-social upbringing, and went to open knit night. By myself. I was worried about what my project tote looked like (was it trendy enough?), the yarn I was using (I didn't buy this Pound of Love acrylic here!), and the project I was tackling (will everyone laugh at this girl crocheting at a knit group??). But I was determined. I wanted to make friends, like-minded friends, ones who could hopefully, eventually, help me past the challenges my knitting and crocheting would present.

I joined my Mornings for Moms group for the same reason... I wanted Mommy friends, ones I could rely on to assure me I wasn't crazy, who would appreciate a detailed retelling of The Diaper That Exploded At Target complete with sound effects. Who could hopefully, eventually, let me support them and support me in return.

There are many times when we face issues that we just can't tackle on our own. There are tiny problems that we fail to solve because we're too close to them, and enormous problems that are too heavy to carry alone. Long ago, there were Quilting Bees, and families that lived right next door. Then everyone started moving apart. I may not have grown up in an age of cell phones, but my kids are. My children rarely see a cashier, everything is done with U-Scan. They rarely see me chatting on the phone, texting is easier. I have a question, I google it.

But there is a beauty in socializing. A kinship that is formed over battling through life with others, whether your fight is against an unwieldy yarn or an inner turmoil about a child's bruised ego. I contend that the modern amenities of life are a wonderfully useful thing, but if we must have that technology, then we must actively seek out social opportunities. If we use our debit cards at gas pumps, we should strive to spend a few of those spared seconds with a fellow parent at the playground.

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