Life Lessons from my Knitting Needles
All three of my children have varying degrees of ADHD. My daughter, who now has a magical three-year-old son, has begun working with a coach to help her move through the world more effectively with this condition. She noticed I have many of the same symptoms, and she has improved so much with help from her coach--so she urged me to get tested and deal with this head on. Which I’m doing.
In the meantime, I want to share with you an image that gave me a sense of wellbeing that I haven't felt for a while now. It came to me as I sat in my living room on the Sunday of a Labor Day weekend, working on a sweater.
When you become an intermediate knitter, you begin to tackle the cable knit sweater. Cable knit is the pattern you can see in the image above. It resembles a braid, and I get happy every time I work on a sweater that has this motif built into it.
A cable knit pattern requires that you skip some stitches every so often, (holding the skipped ones back on a separate needle). You keep knitting, and then you have to pick up the stitches you’d skipped before, working them back into the sweater again.
The other day during my bookkeeping, I realized something was off. I called the people on the other side of this problem, and tried to untangle a mess I’d made because I forgot to clarify something in the original invoice. It took a lot of researching sequences of events, noting exactly when payments came in, who they went to, etc., but we eventually got it figured out and back on track.
And then I saw it.
That whole event — the mistake I made, having to go back and find out what happened, then realigning myself to the present again — that was a cable knit stitch. It felt wonderful not to see it as yet another example of my shortcomings…but instead, as the textured sweater I’ve become in the winter of my years.
I’m still going to investigate smoother functioning techniques. But I love the image of me as a sweater with a gorgeous pattern and a textured life.
Let’s try to see ourselves and each other as a fabric of beings with a thousand rhythms, syncopated in unending combinations--doing, undoing, going back, reintegrating, over and over. Let’s bow our heads to it all. Screwup. Persistence. Remembering. Leaving no stitch behind.
And somehow making a kaleidoscopic and compassionate design with the whole of our lives.