The only surprise is that it didn’t happen sooner. In nearly three years, my son has never touched my knitting, until last night. Around bedtime last night, I walked into the living room to see my son, in his pajamas, with two empty needles in one hand and a very long strand of lace weight yarn being pulled on in the other.
I’m not proud of my reaction, but all I could utter was a a single no, equal parts exasperated and mournful. In his little hands, I saw hours of careful work, dissolving into a mess of tangled, pink yarn.
He took one look at the expression on my face and began to cry.
My husband, obviously approaching sainthood with each passing day, assessed the situation swiftly and scooped him up for a calm, quiet chat in his room. Silently and resentfully, I tried to rescue as much of my knitting as I could. I looked at the back of my cable back shell, scanning for dropped stitches and trying to figure out where the cable belonged, and on which row. I started to despair at being able to save any of it. Then I heard the tiny voice upstairs, “I wanted to make a sweater for Mommy so she could wear it right away. I was helping.”
I took a deep breath and considered things anew. Knitting, like parenting, is the accumulation of countless tiny actions, frequently repetitive, sometimes requiring extreme patience, almost always accomplished for love. I went upstairs, and gave my son a hug, and told him that I love him. Later, I began to pick through the mess, and resolved that the next time, I wouldn’t need a swooping partner or a poignant word from my son. With a little patience, I rescued about half of my work. Today, with a little patience, I was a better parent.
I’m not the parent I want to be yet, but I’m working on it. And next time he gets into my knitting, I’ll be more patient, or maybe I’ll just start leaving it out of reach.