Tag Archives: life lessons

Seeing parallels while knitting

As I hold the needles and yarn in my hands and create the movements required to produce knit and purl stitches, I feel a connection with the hands of my mother and the countless other women who participate in fibre arts.  With renewed interest and time to fill, I enjoyed a sense of satisfaction and anticipation when beginning my first project. With chunky wool and big needles it didn’t take long to see some progress, and the pattern resulting from the colours dyed within the wool kept me engaged in the process.

 

After about two months I’m on my sixth project having graduated from various scarf patterns to a triangle shaped shawl using yarn given to me for Christmas. This project challenges my persistence as the wool is dark gray with only the odd speck of brown or white to distract from the singular dark colour and long rows of stitches that involve knits, purls, yarn-overs and knits of two together.

I find myself becoming impatient for completion and longing for some brighter perhaps self-striping yarn. I distract myself with YouTube searching for sock-knitting instructions and am determined to make that my next project. As I knit, I make a few mistakes that could be noticed if examined closely but not bad enough to threaten the integrity of the piece.

And like that, it hits me; knitting is a lot like my life. I’m impatient for my next employment, longing for the creativity, new surroundings, challenges and escaping the routine of my days these last few months. Like in my knitting, in my life I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve kept going and they haven’t changed the integrity of who I am. While I visualize brighter times, remember to be thankful for what is and has been, and try to believe in a brighter future, I am working through the gray space where employment will be. I stitch yarn together to produce something hopefully useful – a tangible item I can hold in my hands – and feel satisfied that it represents the time and effort invested in it. If I see the small mistakes, I smile appreciating what learning and uniqueness those mistakes produce.

 

Some days optimism seems to be hiding just out of sight and self-worth is harder to embrace. Some days my hands work nimbly across the rows of knitting and some days the project lays waiting for me to take it up. And so I knit and wait, I apply and research and, I suppose, I learn and experience and mostly I hope.

 

Acknowledging the pits

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. They say you’ll find the strength when you need it. They don’t seem to say, life is damn hard.

Sometimes it seems it’s about surviving, enduring, navigating. Challenges are always rising up to put giant roadblocks in my path. While celebrating one thing, another challenge or sorrow creeps up. What do I tell my kids? I won’t lie and pretend life is a bowl of cherries without acknowledging the pits. It’s tough! It is years of struggles. It is feeling like you have no more to give. How many times have I said, I just can’t take this anymore but in the saying of it – knowing I can.

Amongst the knots of frustration, challenge, struggle, loss is woven a golden thread though. Sometimes I lose sight of it when I’m navigating the knots, but it’s there. For me that golden tread is the exchange of love, understanding, perseverance, and even joy.

Seeing loved ones in pain, experiencing anguish, having patience tested, witnessing others with no tolerance or patience at all, trying to positively influence the happiness of those I love – sometimes it seems like too much. But is it?

Use at Own Risk
Elora Gorge

I need to wake up, pull myself up, stand tall and realize it is all perfect. It’s life. I’m living. It’s a privilege not a burden.  The knots sometimes become represented physically in my stomach, in the tense muscles of my shoulders and neck, sometimes they are knots in my ability to think objectively and not emotionally.  Somehow, to accept the knots and work through their untangling with some amount of optimism and self-protection, perhaps even grace – perhaps that’s the point, the goal, the way to moving beyond the struggles.

I hope I’ll never give up on hope, on believing for that is part of the golden thread in my life. When it seems others have no faith, when their negativity spills out I try to have enough faith for all of us. I won’t give up, I will believe in possibilities. I’ll pray. I’ll nurture. I’ll continue. I’ll ask the angels for their help and I’ll believe that miracles are possible.

And when it comes to my children and their struggles, I’ll believe that they can catch a glimpse of the golden thread, that they will overcome and I will hope for their ability to rise above. I will try to remember that it is my honour to walk along beside them in their journeys. It is my perfect privilege to be their mother.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me

Sometimes, although I completely celebrate and appreciate the blessing that motherhood is, the responsibility can overwhelm me. The bulk of the day-to-day parenting role in our family is mine. And I am completely honoured and humbled by the joy and learning that it has brought to my life.

No matter what age you are when you start planning your family, no matter how practical you are, I doubt you could ever really anticipate the depth of love you feel when you hold your beautiful new child in your arms. How could you possibly know how many times your heart will break for your children when they experience the harshness of the world around them? How would you comprehend the ongoing, far-reaching connection that never dissolves?

As my children experience struggle in their life, I’m very much aware of how that struggle will shape them and how even if I could protect them from every challenge – I wouldn’t. I know how life can kick you down but there’s so much empowerment and self-worth derived from picking yourself back up, of weathering storms, of relying on your faith, of taking action to make your situation better.

I have never been over-protective, in my estimation anyway. I have been accused of being too lenient with my children. I remember before even becoming pregnant reading a book called, Your Child’s Self-Esteem. I tried to do everything right. Don’t we all have the best intentions? I think the one ideal I set for myself as a parent was to encourage my children’s individuality. Cookie-cutter children without imagination were not my hope. I tried to build them up, to be their champion, to have their backs but I did so acknowledging their responsibility in situations and trying to be real with them. When a child brought me their scribble-drawings I focused on something I liked about it, the colour they used or how they filled the paper, but I avoided saying it was the best thing I’d ever seen. I didn’t talk baby-talk to them but I did sing them lullabies.

Now as all but one of them are in their 20s, I’m surprised by how strongly I’m still affected by their choices and by how they are living their lives. I kind of imagined they’d all be independent by now and my role would be more of just love and encouragement. I’m not complaining. I’m happy to be needed and consulted and to be their mother. But sometimes, when I’m up to my eyeballs in my own stress, my own problems, and I feel as though I’m drowning it’s hard to provide what they need. Is it selfish to think this way? Perhaps. I always love them, I always feel honoured to be their mom and to be invited into their lives. But how do I throw them the lifeline when I’m having trouble treading the stormy waters myself?

My children
My Heart beats

Maybe all they need is someone to hear them and understand. Maybe they don’t need me to solve their problems but just to listen and to believe in their abilities to rise above, to move forward, to actively choose for themselves the life they want, and maybe my role is to let go of the life I dreamed for them. Happiness, independence, joy, comfort – I’ll always wish these things for my children. I’m sure each one will walk their path uniquely and I will trust God to guide them and I will trust them to learn what life will teach them along the way.

So maybe when I’m drowning in these stormy seas, the one thing I can do is show them faith. Perhaps I need to be an example of peace. And when I do become upset, perhaps I need to show them that I can forgive myself for opening the valve and letting some of the frustration go. Perhaps my best option at this point is to show them the dignity that exits in being vulnerable, making mistakes and dealing with the challenges that seem to pop up like hurdles. We can trip, fall down, even cry but if we get up and get over that hurdle, maybe the next one won’t stop us in our tracks for as long.

I’ll probably always wonder if I let them down as their mother, if I taught them all I could, if I was and am who they need me to be. One thing I am sure of, my children all know I love them with all my heart and I hope that’s enough for there to be peace.