Late last week, I opened a gift of hand-dyed, handspun cashmere yarn. Elizabeth DeHority thought perhaps that I could knit something before Michael's baby arrives. She has always had a ridiculous (and uterly unreasonable) faith in my creative ability. I found the idea preposterous. But I remembered three years ago, when knitting was new to me and miraculously, I knit so many shrugs I might have lost count. So, I cast on. The reality is that my skills haven't progressed much in the last three years and those shrugs might be the only thing in which I have any degree of confidence. another tidbit? I knit most of those shrugs in medical waiting rooms that year. Turns out this year finds me waiting for doctors again. (Patrick is improving; thanks for your sweet concern.) Another pink shrug it is. I love those shrugs and this yarn is extraordinary and knitting is the perfect thing to do while one waits.
Will I finish before the baby girl arrives? I have no earthly idea. I do know that I can sort of see the potential for sitting and knitting and waiting amidst the bluebells in the next couple of weeks and that idea has all kinds of appeal. This waiting is so strange to me--to know that a baby is coming and to have absolutely nothing tangible to do while I wait is sort of crazy. All offers to help nest have been firmly declined. All my usual third trimester go-tos: stocking freezers, cleaning house, assembling baby equipment, long walks, pelvic rocks, packing bags, more pelvic rocks, midwife appointments, and bottomless glasses of water--none of those are in the grandmother realm this time (though I suppose it couldn't hurt me to clean my house and to take a long walk with a bottle of water;-). The one thing in my baby prep habits that remains is to pray hard--incessantly really--the way that I prayed myself into labor when every one of my babies was waiting to push its way into my arms. And so, that's what I do. Pray and pray and pray. This is uncharted territory for all of us, but prayers for pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum? Those are woven in wide ribbons through the fiber of my soul. Those I know.
I put aside the baby sewing a bit. This baby has everything she needs for those first few days. I think I have time to sew. And, frankly, I have a house full of children for whom some more utilitarian sewing is necessary. Dance competition season is upon us and I'm gathering ill-fitting costumes from nearly every class in the studio. There is much to be tucked and tacked and I'm really happy to do it. In the course of taking from a child a costume that doesn't work at all and making it something he or she is comfortable in and happy to wear, I usually get to know that child a bit. And I really, really like that. I like putting names to faces and being the friendly fingers that make an uncomfortable wardrobe situation a bit better.
And, it's not just my girls who need sewing. My boys have found ways to bring things to my attention, too. Please know that little mending item has not been sitting there since November. He found an out of date notepad. The task was dispatched the very same day.
I've been reading John Paul II this week, getting ready to celebrate his canonization, and honestly, looking at old, familiar words through eyes grown a little older and a perspective shifted just slightly from where it was when I was a young mom and he was a father on earth. I'm so grateful for the great cloud of witnesses, so glad to draw upon the wisdom and the grace and the faith of the people God gave me to love as I was learning about motherhood. We've suffered losses in the last year, tremendous losses of godly friends and influences. I'm surprised about how difficult it has been to come back to this place and to write again. I know well that revisiting grief over and over again in this space is not what I am called to do, but there have been more days than I ever imagined when I've just had nothing else to say. Much the way that birth transforms us--changes us every time--so, too does death. Every time.
There is no doubt that for our family this will forever be the season where death and birth walked hand in hand. It is much too soon for me to know what that means.
Tell me what your needles are busy doing. What you're reading in these last weeks of Lent?