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Sometimes a Bad Word is All You Need

The kids and I went to a craft store today, after the boy child tugged at my shirt hem and said, “I need some drawing markers.” He actually didn’t tug at my shirt hem, but I have decided to be in denial of the fact that he is now ten years-old and I will proceed with keeping him a baby.

The other night I realized that the time “with” him living here is over halfway done–that if he leaves at eighteen, I have less time left with him than I have had with him.

I am sure more descriptive, more articulate ways to describe this feeling exist than those words.


Have had.

With him.

But I am unsure how to describe it any other way. Time is flying. I have felt that more and more lately. I think it’s the time of year.

We picked through the mounds of scrapbook stickers, pens, ribbons and aisles stocked with things that no one really needs–but things that we need at the same time. Craft stores are non-food version of ice cream for me. I made it almost to check-out with nothing in the cart for me–I turned down rows of Washi tape and “you go girl” stickers for my planner; I refrained from an impulse purchase of yet another pack of PITT artist pens.

I did well. Until we passed the yarn aisle.

My grandmother, my Mombow, teaching me to knit, years and years ago. I learned to make scarves. I never quite did anything that wasn’t straight or square or rectangle, but I made scarves—tons and tons of scarves.

[If I do anything, I do it to obsession. Ah-hem.]

When I was a baby lawyer, I knitted at night and drank wine. I took my scarves to the local boutique and even made some sales.  This was before Etsy, thank goodness, or I might have just been Yarn Mom and not Swim Bike Mom. Not that Yarn Mom necessarily would have been a bad thing… but I digress.

So today, my impulse craft superstore purchase was two things: a pair of knitting needles and a fat pile of pink yarn.  Why not.

Mombow passed away on February 13th two years ago, and I have felt this loss almost daily since her passing.  As the time ticks closer to this anniversary of losing her, I have felt sad and alone in a way that doesn’t make sense, but in a way that is certainly real, painful.

I put knitting supplies in the cart without making any conscious connection between Mombow and the yarn.

My choice of yarn was based on color only, the needles were long and thin.

The kids and I stuffed our bellies with giant, steamy bowls of Pho and headed home. As we rolled in the house, the kids bounded upstairs with their art supplies.

I stood in the kitchen, pulled out the knitting supplies, and cast a needle with a random number of loops.

As I held the two knitting needles in my hand, I realized I had forgotten what to do next.

I couldn’t reach it.

I couldn’t grab it.

I couldn’t remember.

I. Could. Not. Remember.

In that moment, my eyes filled up with tears, and my heart ached as I let out a whimpery, sad little sigh.  The Expert, who was listening to a podcast across the kitchen, asked me what was I wrong.

“Mombow taught me how to knit.  And I cannot remember how.”

He said, “It’s okay, Mere. You can look it up on YouTube.”

I knew he was right. Ever the practical guy with a solution, he was correct.

But the despair wasn’t forgetting how to knit, per se.  It was me forgetting the teaching–losing the steps when her small, chilly, paper-skinned little hands showed me. Those steps, those moments were what I desperately needed to remember.  I wanted to recall the clink of the needles syncing with the clink of her gold bracelet.

And I forgot.

I sat for a moment and missed her. I wanted to write about it. I wanted to write about how much I just fucking missed her.

Then I laughed. Because she would have been so disappointed if I had even thought the F word, let alone said the F word, and horrified most especially if I wrote it on a blog… for the first time ever.

In the corners of this thought–the thought of writing the F word on my blog–I found a huge smile.

With that smile, I felt her presence.

With her presence, I found the memory.

I placed the needles in the correct hands, and I began knitting.

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