Tuesday, June 3

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time, when life was simple, before full hormone riddled teenage-hood had struck I had turned 13, my mother was probably one of my best friends.

I know now, that she always was, but your mind becomes blinded, round about the time you become riddled with hormonal changes, & rebellion starts in your confused, teenage heart. There begins a time when everything, from your misshapen -in your eyes- body, to your pimple ridden face, is all down to your mother.

It is also her fault you are so thick at maths. Her fault the boy you had a crush on, seems to have a crush on someone else. Her fault that your younger brother is the bane of your life. The list of things that are her fault, grow with the advance of confusion, & burgeoning bodily functions, & breasts that poke out when they are badly wanted, but not necessarily enjoyed, or comfortable.

Of course it is her fault your father has gone from your life, her fault he has found another 'wife' to bear his further children. Her fault she has to work, to support you. Her fault she is small, dainty, & short, & you, ..you are like some giant from another species. You are tall, ...& lumpy. Where did you come from!

I digress. Back to pre- teendom. She had finally managed, to teach me to knit. I was left handed, she was not. We danced many a tussle filled dance, with me trying to master the art, & she, valiantly trying hard not to lose her patience.

I had my Grandmother to try to instruct me also. She was the more patient of the two, but still, the art eluded me. I can still see my Grandmother propped on pillows on her bed, to rest her stiff leg, plying her knitting needles, & trying to instruct me on the intricacies of the art of Knitting.

I did manage to master the art, finally. I knitted right handed, which may be why I had trouble learning. When I eventually taught myself to crochet, I taught myself lefthanded. I went on to teach several neighbour children, & adults, to crochet lefthanded. I learnt with my Mother, who by then, I recognised for what she truly was. My best friend. I used a mirror to follow the pictures, in the right-handed instruction book, & it was very successful.

Once I had learnt to knit, I had to try out the fancy stitches. Dropping stitches, being frustrated, but learning how to pick up the dropped stitches. How to create the lacy patterns, the fairisle colours. I loved knitting.

When Winter came around, in those early teen years, my mother & I would embark on a trip together, to the closest city, with the large woolshops, with a huge selection of wonderful yarns, to choose from. Hand knitted jumpers, cardigans, boleroes, vests, were all fashionable. Every one was wearing them, & hand knitted was desirable, & sought after.

I can still remember the excitement of a trip. My mother would have the day off. Perhaps I would be taking a day off school, to make the trip. We would set off, just the two of us, my mother driving her little car. A small heater in the car, providing some warmth for our early getaway.

The choosing of the lovely yarns, to knit a jumper, or cardigan. Fashions changed, colours came in & out of season. A creamy flecked yarn, my fondest memory of a cardigan we knitted together. I did the sleeves, my Mother the back, & the front which had a pattern. We shared that cardigan, through bitter times & happy. It finally wore out, holes in the elbows. I think we both realised the value in that cardigan.

It represented a traumatic, stormy time we lived through. It represented good times we lived through, close, & great friends. Later, myself, a hostile & nasty, hurt & bitter person. Hurling cruelties at the my mother, in verbal form. goodness knows, sometimes those barbs hurt most of all. I cringe at the memory. But I still remember the sharing of that cardigan, even through the bitter times.

I still get a warm memory, when I think of how we chose the yarn, together. How we shared the memories of the creation, & the occasions, of wearing it, having it admired. Acknowledging each other's contribution to it's creation. It was another tie that bound us.

In our later years together, we often talked of that cardigan. Talked of how it had become a sort of benchmark for our love for each other. The love that had been woven, knitted, into it's creation, stayed, long after the mere garment had ceased to be.

It left a legacy of thought, pain, joy, & love. I am so glad we had Once Upon a Time, to build up our later relationship. Loving & generous. You can't ask for more than that, from your life.



Seals & Crofts, I'll Play for You.

17 comments:

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Great post, Meggie. I daresay we all have memories to treasure and hurtful ones that haunt, thank you for sharing yourself, your heart.

Reluctant Blogger said...

What a wonderful post.

My relationship with my mother is a bit distant these days. I'm not sure what if anything I could/should do about it. I think there is a lot of unspoken misunderstandings and guilt and blame and I just don't think either of us can face dealing with it. We pretend it is not there and chat once a week on the phone about not a lot. I see her a couple of times a year and then really we just talk about the children.

I have no idea if I should do something about it. I sort of feel that she should.

Too many other things to sort out really. it's funny though I seem to be at a point in my life when a lot of things need re-evaluating and slotting back into place or into a new place. Do you know what I mean?

Pam said...

A beautiful post Meggie and so well written. None of us can be perfect in this imperfect world,and you describe that relationship so well between mothers and daughters, especially our teenage years.As women, we have so much in common, and then so very much not! Allowing and acknowledging room for the differences seems to work best.I cannot believe that an introvert like me could have such an extrovert for a daughter, but for this reason, I have learnt a lot from her.Vice versa she tells me.Also I don't believe we right-handed people can begin to understand what lefties go through. I think it starts in school with the kindy scissors doesn't it??

Frankofile said...

Maybe it's not too late to think of something practical to do with my daughters. Having left them in England and brought their beloved dog to France, we are in their bad books. You've got me thinking. Suggestions please! (No, knitting up the dog hair wouldn't help. Although there is lots of it.)

smilnsigh said...

A beautiful, beautiful entry...

Thank you.

Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh

Ragged Roses said...

Meggie this is a beautiful post! From a fellow left handed, taught to knit as a right hander (yet still hopeless) knitter!
Kimx

Elaine Adair said...

It's interesting what memories stick with us - they were nothing out of the ordinary at the time, and who would imagine how they would linger with love and care, resulting years later in a few tears AND happiness. 8-)

Elaine Adair said...

It's interesting what memories stick with us - they were nothing out of the ordinary at the time, and who would imagine how they would linger with love and care, resulting years later in a few tears AND happiness. 8-)

Granny J said...

This post touched on one of my sore spots. My mom was my friend until I went away to college & was exposed to (and adopted)radical new ideas. It took me many years to learn that I couldn't change her outlook on life, but once I reached that point, we were somewhat close, but there was an entire world of ideas and interests that was off limits. BTW, my grandmother taught me to crochet, Mom taught me to be a reasonably good seamstress, but I'm pretty sure that I had to figure out knitting on my own.

ancient one said...

Loved your post today. My cousin and I had talked on the phone this morning and our conversation had gotten around to our moms. Then I came here and that's what you had written about...

jellyhead said...

Meggie, I hope you are saving all these posts, to be kept forever. Because the way you described the symbolism of that cardigan is so poignant...

It's always a (life's free) treat to come to your blog :)

PAT said...

Meggie, this is a beautiful post! I could see the story and recognize it as part of my story, too!
Thank you so much!
Pat

The Sagittarian said...

Great post again, Meggie! Funny too as my mother was left handed and I am not so our learning was "difficult", even now when she is watching me knit I wonder if I'm doing it right! However, have recently taught my Scowly Teen to knit and she has taken to it like a duck to water. the only problem is that she has decided that she can now knit, so why do it? She hasn't finished the scarf she started and I'm the devil-mum-from-hell as I'm pushing her to finish it. I don't care if she doesn't do another one, just want her to know that satisfied feeling from finishing something.

Mike said...

Beautiful post Meggie. Sometimes it is necessary to remember the bad times to be able to truly appreciate the good times. It's just the way it goes I guess.

bluemountainsmary said...

This might be my favourite post of yours ever - maybe it is because so many of us can relate to the relationship you write of with your mother...

Stomper Girl said...

Oh, what a lovely story Meggie.

Kellie said...

I too am left handed and I remember my nanna teaching me to knit. I have never been good at it, as although she taught me right handed I would automatically revert to left handed. This is good if you can do it on purpose as there is no need to turn your work ... I am always looking for ways to conserve energy :). However I would just revert to left handed or right randomly and end up with some strange lopsided creation that would be good for nothing. Lucky I found quilting I say!