It's literally been years (just over 2, in fact) since I've written to you, and for that I'm sorry. So much about you has changed since I last posted a message, and part of me wishes I'd taken more time to write some of those moments down for you. I say "part of me" because the rest of me was busy living those moments with you, and I'll take participation over observation any day. Tonight though, I'm feeling nostalgic and a little emotional, so I'm writing to you in the hopes that this letter will provide some measure of comfort to you when you're in the same boat.
As I write this, you're singing along to Barney and Friends on Netflix, and finishing the better part of a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. You're three and a half now, and while you're not quite riding the pro circuit of potty training, you're an enthusiastic amateur. That's a pretty bad metaphor, but it's all I've got, so cut your mom a break and go with it, okay? You're a funny kid, and you are bursting at the seams with personality. You have an opinion about every. single. thing. you could possibly have an opinion about, and your laugh is as quick to bubble to the surface as your temper. You're also smart as a whip, and you are just overall one hell of a kid. I'm so proud of you every day.
Today you asked me to knit you a pretty pink bracelet of I-cord, and I happily complied, because both Daddy and I wear I-cord bracelets too and I would knit you a Winnebego if you asked me. Then you asked me to make one for Aunt Christi (you LOVE her, by the way) and that later led to Aunt Kate (you LOVE her too) asking for a bracelet too. So tonight I'm knitting I-cord bracelets for people, and that's what led to this letter.
It's no secret that I knit, or that I love it. I post about it on Facebook occasionally, and every now and then I post a photo of a finished work. I carry a bag of small knitting with me everywhere, and I've been known to knit at train crossings and whild waiting in line at the bank. The thing about me is I'm a process knitter. I enjoy the actual act of knitting more than I care about enjoying a finished piece. The repetitive motion and busy work for my hands is a soothing meditation for me. When I'm at my most emotional or most off-balance, knitting is what soothes me and gets me back to rights. And every time I pick up my needles, I think about the person who taught me to knit.
My mother actually taught me to knit first, but my Mamaw taught me to purl, and she taught my mom to do both, so I say that my Mamaw taught me. She was a big influence on me for a large part of my life, and I feel like more of me is like my mom and Mamaw than anyone else. You should know that you come from a line of strong women, who tend to face adversity and downfall head on and use the bull-headed stubbornness they're born with to their advantage. When I knit, I think of my Mamaw, and when I'm feeling bad, I remember that I'm like her, and I find a way to get through whatever's bothering me.
What's bothering me now is that my Mamaw is sick. She has pneumonia, and she's fallen a couple times, and now she's in the hospital and it looks more and more like she won't be going back to her apartment, but to an assisted living facility instead, if we're lucky. She's 86, and as long a life as that seems, I'm still not ready for the hard stuff that's going to happen. I also realize that if she lives to be a hundred (which she won't be happy about) she will not see you graduate high school. Of course, neither will your beloved dog Tug and that's just the circle of life, blah blah blah, but I can't help feeling like you're going to miss out on a great lady. You're a lot like her, because you're a lot like me; I'm a lot like my mom, and she's a lot like her mom. And everytime I pick up my knitting, I think about her, and how hard things are right now. And it occurs to me that I don't think she knows how much she impacted my life, how much of an influence she had on who I am, both directly and through the daughter she raised who raised me. I'm going to tell her, and I'm going to spend the time I have left with her doing what I can to make sure she understands how much of me is because of her, and because of my mom.
But it also occurs to me that maybe you don't know how much of an impact you had on my life, and how much your existence and who you are has changed who I am, for the better. So I'm going to try to make sure I tell you every day, and for the you that could be reading this some day, I'm going to try to tell you too.
I love you, Charlotte Ophelia Hurst. You bring sunshine to my life.
Saturday, December 10, 2011