All knotted up

My favorite girl wants to crochet. She’s pretty crafty and likes doing stuff like that, which is great. Problem is, I’m not so good with the handicrafts. Sitting still and being precise aren’t my forte (hence the slapdash nature of this blog — I have  a thought, I sit at my computer and bang it out; no laboring over every word or nuance. Plus, there’s something about the directions to crafty things that just don’t compute in my brain. Sure, I can read the directions but they make no sense to me.

But my girl wants to learn how to crochet, so I’m going to help her.

I did the rudimentary things necessary for learning a new hobby: bought a how-to book, invested in the basic supplies, and signed her up for a class–crochet 101 the Sunday after Thanksgiving. 

My girl is impatient like her mama, and doesn’t want to wait until next Sunday to learn how to crochet. She wanted to make a scarf and she wanted to make it right then & there. I can respect that.

But I can’t crochet.

Trevor found her a simple video on youtube that helped her get started. She was crocheting up a storm like she’d been doing it her whole life. I was quite amazed. Pretty soon, she had one long chain for her scarf. As my sweet mama used to say, she was cooking with gas. 

When it came time to create the second chain, to make the scarf wider, we were in trouble. The turning stitch is kinda tricky, and neither the book nor the youtube videos were making it click. We were stuck.

My favorite girl wasn’t ready to give up, but she was frustrated. She wanted to keep on crocheting, she just didn’t know how.

I was just sick, absolutely sick at the idea that neither my sweet mama nor my favorite aunt Sophia was still on this Earth to teach my favorite girl how to do a turning stitch. Both of them could crochet like a house on fire. Those ladies cranked out afghans like it was nobody’s business. That gene must skip a generation, though.

There was nothing I wanted more than to call my mom or Aunt Sophia and set up a crochet date for Macy. And if there were still here, I know there’s nothing they would have like more. Instead, my favorite girl and I piled into the car and drove straight to the Sugar Land Yarn Company, a sweet little store full of yarn, knitting needles, patterns, and best of all, crafty women. 

I explained our dilemma to the store owner, who said that she does not crochet. However, we were in luck because on Sundays, they have Afternoon Knitting, where women bring their projects and camp out in the store’s comfy chairs to knit and visit. If I were crafty and had a store that offered such a thing, I’d call it Stitch & Bitch, but these women clearly are much more civilized than I.

The store owner called out to the Afternoon Knitters and one of them, Miss Kathy, kindly volunteered to help my favorite girl with her turning stitch. Miss Kathy made it look easy. She demonstrated several times on two different crochet projects she is working on, and she spent a fair amount of time explaining it to Macy. I could tell by the look in M’s eyes that she wasn’t, getting it, though, and sadly, neither was I. Miss Kathy might have been speaking in tongues for all the sense it made to me.

I think Macy realized that there was a bit more to crocheting than just looping a single chain, and I guess by then she’d gotten enough of the new hobby out of her system and was content to wait until her class to learn the turning stitch. I was ready to head on out and leave the Afternoon Knitters to their projects and conversation, but my girl was lingering.

She watched each of the four knitters with her big, beautiful eyes, noticing the colors of their yarns and the patterns in their projects. She was quiet and still and respectful (good girl!). But there was something else, too — she was peaceful. I would expect most 9-year-old girls to be ready to blow that popsicle stand as soon as it became clear that we had received all the help we were gonna get. I would think most 9-year-old girls could think of a million things they’d rather do than hang out with four strangers who are at least 50 years her senior. The store was quiet and absent any music, TV, or video games, just the regular and rhythmic click of knitting needles. Yet my girl was peaceful in the company of the Afternoon Knitters. She would have stayed all afternoon if I hadn’t shooed her out of there, feeling like an interloper among the skeins of yarn. And she said that once she learns to crochet, she wants to come back and join the Afternoon Knitters.

It hit me then like a ton of bricks — my girl craves the company of a YaYa who died from uterine cancer before Macy could tie her shoes or write her name, and that of her favorite aunt who was swallowed up by glioblastoma in May. I guess neither Macy nor I realized until we barged in on the knitting circle how much she misses their company and their tutelage.

Another startling example of how much cancer steals from us.

I was nearly flattened by the unfairness of it all. It would have been very easy to fall into the abyss of grief, anger, and loss that comes when someone you love–and need–is stolen away by cancer. If not for cancer, my girl would be happily crocheting the day away with beloved family members. I have no doubt she could master the turning stitch under the watchful eye of my mom or aunt. Instead, I have to solicit help from strangers. Instead of enjoying the company and the bonds of one generation teaching the next, I’ll be sending my girl to a class in a hobby shop.

Cancer steals so much.