As a mother who is also a mildly obsessed knitter.... okay, not mildly, just obsessed... today was a Landmark Day in the journey of motherhood.
Up until today, the most exhilarating thing I've done as a homeschooling mother was teaching my young daughter to read. What satisfaction that brought, to hear her reading real stories out loud, comprehending the words printed on a page. It's like the whole world opened up for her.
But today just might have been better, even more satisfying.
She is knitting.
She's been begging me to teach her for weeks now. She wanted a pink scarf for her teddy bear named Corduroy. She even had the yarn picked out.
It's my fault it took so long. I was procrastinating. I am not a patient woman. I learn things easily, and so I expect everyone else to learn them easily too. And I did not want to screw this up. Knitting is the greatest gift, if bestowed on the right person at the right time in the right manner. If you pick the wrong time, or the wrong way to teach, a would-be-knitter gives up in frustration and goes to Wal Mart to buy a scarf.
I was terrified that I would do that to my daughter.
But I didn't. I showed her three stitches, I held her hands in mine as we knitted a row together. "In through the front door, run 'round the back. Hop through the window and off jumps Jack." After the first row, she didn't really need me, except to keep tension on her yarn.
It's thrilling. Little fingers clumsily maneuvering long pointy sticks and fuzzy pink string, dropping stitches here and twisting stitches there, but no matter - she is knitting. She's learning patience - something I never figured I'd be able to teach her. She's expressing her own creativity. She sticks out her tongue, scrunches up her eyebrows, and pulls the next stitch off. The first one she did all by herself resulted in a "Yes!! I did it all by myself! I knitted!" There were tears in my eyes, but I hid them.
Is it absolutely ridiculous that this is so important to me? Of course it is. Now I'll have to be sure not to push, not to over-correct, to let her learn on her own, as is the way with knitting. Best to push the images of a tiny person knitting doll sweaters and baby blankets far out of my head, and let her choose the pace and choose the project.
Instead of fostering ideas of grandeur, I'll just sit back and watch those little hands and little fingers and pointy sticks and remind myself that I succeeded.
She is knitting.