Sometimes I forget what it feels like to be by myself.
Shortly after my twins were born, some friends came to watch them so I could go get a pedicure. I was excited about the pedicure, of course…but the most wonderful part of it was getting to go someplace totally by myself. I always have company, even in the bathroom. I could hardly fathom the joy of sitting alone in a chair for half an hour. I could listen to music. I could read. I could do both. And then, it hit me…I could knit.
The people at the salon teased me for carrying in my yarn and needles. The taunting continued as I plopped my feet in the warm water and started to stitch. “What, are you an old lady now?” the nail technician laughed. “Don’t you want a magazine instead?” It was good-natured joking, and it didn’t bother me a bit since I was so gleefully alone. I spent the half-hour knitting and left with a partly finished scarf and bright red toenails.
It was a happy day.
Being on bedrest while pregnant with my girls meant giving up a lot of things, but it awakened my inner knitter. I had no idea I loved to knit before my twelve-year-old nephew taught me how. Now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.
What is it about knitting that delights me? I love the entire process…the joy of choosing the yarn and the pattern especially for the recipient…the colors, the texture of the fiber, the flow of the stitches and the way they grow into something entirely new that didn’t exist before. It’s a bold act: making something almost out of nothing- carefully crafting a special uniqueness and sending it off to its little place in the world to bring joy to someone specific, to make his day brighter or her head warmer, to be a little spot of color in a bleak stretch of time or space.
As we welcome a new baby into our family this summer, I want to make him something unique that is only his (and not handed down from his three older siblings, as so many of his toys and clothes will be). I’ve considered patterns and colors and stitches and finally settled on a blanket in bright, happy colors. Every time I cover him with it or spread it on the floor for him to lie on, my heart will smile remembering these days of weaving strands together, anticipating his arrival, imagining what he will be like. I’m preparing something special just for him, even as God is preparing him for us (and us for him, too).
The whole act of creating new pieces of knitting reminds me of the way God knit each of us together. When I think of God knitting, I picture God as a large-boned woman with strong hands and skin the color of caramel, rocking in a chair on her front porch, knitting needles flying, humming under her breath. I imagine the amazing array of colors and textures she has at her disposal…the intricate patterns she designs, a different pattern for every one of us, a way in which we are special, different, set apart from every other person she has ever made, incredible love wrapped up in every tiny stitch.
Looking at my children, I see how miraculous they are- the tiny fingers, the dimpled elbows, the shining eyes. I admire Lucy’s corkscrew curls that set her apart from every other member of our family and the way she crinkles the corners of her eyes when she tells a joke she knows is clever. I adore Nora’s eye for color and pattern, evident in her carefully-chosen paints and unusual outfits, always paired with bright pink rain boots or bright blue Crocs and her favorite yellow socks. I marvel at the way Sam’s increasingly capable fingers stack tiny Legos together and twist pieces of foil, duct tape and cardboard into the shapes he desires and how his puns and wordplay make me laugh out loud.
We are all creators created by a Creator. The impulse to create is deeply ingrained in each of us, knit into the center of our souls, because we were created that way by God. It’s all so breathtaking, I can hardly stand it.
There is fear sometimes, and doubt, and the feeling that I’m not doing enough or being enough. There is worry that somehow there won’t be enough of me to stretch over another little person who needs me every bit as much as his brother and sisters already do. I know, though, that creation is good. This new life is good. Any voice that tells me otherwise is a lie. Knitting is an act of defiance, of optimism, of choosing to believe that there will always be enough to go around. I knit because it is doing something. It is rejoicing in more. It is multiplying our joys instead of counting what we lack. It is celebrating life- welcoming new babies, warming hands a size larger than they were last winter, comforting cold toes that are far from home. It is creating joy.
Week by week, a new life is being created under my heart. As this baby’s blanket grows with every row knit or purled, I keep feeling him move inside me, and my own joy overflows.
Copyright 2014 Abbey Dupuy