Friday, April 23, 2010
The Blanket That Started it All
Almost nine years ago, I had my little guy, P. When P was born, we discovered he needed a tracheostomy and g-tube because of a syndrome called Pierre Robin Sequence. Basically, his tongue was in his airway because his jaw was so tiny. He also had a cleft palate that was so large, you could see into his nasal passages from his mouth. So.....began our journey of an intense, medically centered, special needs life. Up to that point, we had been involved at the local children’s hospital because of my boys’ asthma, with lots of hospital stays. This was just a primer for what was to come. Our lives were sent into chaos with all of P’s special needs. We were overwhelmed at the amount of intervention he needed, and I felt myself sinking into a sleep deprived anxiety ridden mood that was hard to shake. While we rejoiced in P’s birth, and all of the wonder of his little being that far outshone his medical issues, we had to learn to take it one day at a time, or we weren’t going to make it.
One thing that helped was the kindness of others. It was a balm to our souls, especially in the early days. My friend, Katie, knitted this blanket for P before he was born. When she gave it to me, I was so taken with its lovely pattern (a basket-weave) and it was so, so soft. I marveled at her precision of stitches and realized it was a work of love. The more I looked at it, wrapping our sweet P up, the more I wanted to be able to do something JUST LIKE IT! I have some fearsome skills, most of them centered around my nursing degree, or using my mouth to speak words of great weight.....or is that being opinionated and bossy....anyway.....my skills at that time did NOT include being especially crafty. I was beginning to be a decent cook, after discovering G’s severe food allergies. But, I didn’t have something that was creative and life giving to me that was a handiwork of sorts. I had just started scrapbooking the year before P was born, but I have to admit, it was hard to scrapbook at first for P. Not because I wasn’t happy, but because I would go to the scrapbook store, and leave in tears. I was having a hard time telling my story with all of the cutesy, easy peasy baby stuff......that wasn’t my life. I am sure scrapbook store owners wouldn’t buy stickers that scream, “Man, my life is INTENSE!!!” “Some days I really look like I got those two hours of sleep!!” I have since gotten over that, and can scrapbook just fine....my own way.
I mentioned to my brother one day that I would like to learn to knit. I needed something to do while I stayed at home a lot, I reasoned, (not that I would ever be at a loss for something to do with a kid with a trach and three other littles.....and homeschooling), but, I knew I needed.....something. My kind brother lived near a knit shop, and one day he popped in to ask if he could pay an instructor to go teach me how to knit at my house, given my situation with my new baby and such. My brother has a lot of fearsome skills, too, he is naturally very creative, and crazy smart. He said, “Hey, while I am here, show me what is up with this knitting stuff, can you show me?” They obliged, and he left, totally loving knitting, and paying for my surprise home lessons. When Jane showed up a month later, on a cold October day, sleeting, very windy.....she brought sunshine into my house for two straight hours. Those were hours of immense grace. P slept in front of us, in his little car seat, all hooked up to his monitors and equipment...and my three littles watched a movie.....the house was quiet. I learned to knit in those two hours under the best instructor. Jane was kind and sweet, and determined that I would know the basics when she left......and I did. It was magic. I started a cream colored scarf, and fell in love with those two sticks and yarn. I couldn’t believe I got it. I was (and still am) very thankful that my brother was so thoughtful to take an idea and run with it.....and get me such a long lasting gift of a knitting lesson.
Did I mention that my brother moved to New York the following year.....and began working at some yarn shops....and designs for Vogue Knitting.....and has been on some knitting shows??
Knitting has really impacted his life, because of that sweet blanket......
I went on to knit like crazy. I was a woman possessed. I loved yarn, I loved looking forward to browsing local yarn shops....and I, too, eventually worked at one of our local yarn shops for a short stint, before we began another P surgery marathon season. Yarn is such a sensory experience for me, so calming....I love looking at the pretty colors, the possibilities....so much to be excited about, I tell ya’!! I took my yarn bag everywhere, to many appointments, to surgery waiting rooms....it calmed my nerves and let me focus on praying.....and breathing.....and getting through the moment.
So, fast forward several years. I am sitting at the NICU bedside of my newest baby with PRS.....waiting for her to come home......knitting her the cutest cardigan, calming my nerves, praying, breathing......and thanking God for Katie’s kindness. In the last eight years, I have taught several people to knit, including my dear friend, Angel, who is legally blind!! She is a great knitter!!!! I have taught a few groups of young girls to knit, I have even taught my boys.....and one opened an Etsy shop last year, selling his unique scarves. S far surpasses me in skill, he just “knits patterns up” in his head, intricate patterns like this...
I love knitting. I love the feel of yarn, and how it calms me down in the midst of chaos. Knitting has also taught me to really look at creative pursuits as important....not just something to get done, someday....but to do today. I wouldn’t have learned to sew, if it had not been my great experience with knitting...and I love to sew now as well!
Go learn how to knit.....check out You Tube for tutorials, there is a vast number of pictures and videos on line...check out your local yarn shop....my favorite in the world is Stitches N Scones....I don’t live in Indy anymore, but tell Molli I said, “Hi” if you stop in, it is a terrific shop! I would really encourage you to knit for someone out there......someone who is going through a lot. Even if it as simple as a scarf.....it will make a difference!
Thanks, Katie! One little blanket....so many lives touched.