So I am just never ever alone.
What a gift, what a joy.
I am always in the company of people I love, really.
And, simultaneously, I am a person with a very high need for alone time,
and that’s been the case all my life.
So, knowing I have this great yawning need for solitude, I gave birth to six children. Of course, who wouldn’t!
And they have friends. And I have also got a husband. And now my mom lives with us too. And I love them all. And I also love to be alone.
These people I love manage their day by taking turns talking to me. Passing the baton of continual conversation so that I am prevented from ever completing a thought.
Today in a short two hours, I began with a long chat with the 11 yr old about Minecraft .
He mentioned all its different building materials, and how it has blessed his little heart more than any book he has yet read (a challenge which this literature loving Mom identifies and accepts).
Now he’s building me my own Minecraft house…..actually a fantastic compound with towers and swimming pools, a breathtaking view of the ocean, and BEST OF ALL…. a multi-level sheep farm.
He delights to describe it to me in minute and repititious detail.
In case anybody wants to see it, I have a photo of the sheep area which he took on my phone and brought to me:
Those things that look like bunk beds on the left are actually two sheep pens, extra large, one stacked on top of the other. Because he is confident that one day I will want to produce wool in my very own yard to save myself the bother of hauling off to Paradise Fibers every time I need more yarn.
Then, he randomly mentioned something irrelevant to sheep and virtual building, which was this: ”Oh, and there is an extinct family of cephalopods which were Ammonoidea or something. But they are also called ammonites. Weren’t those guys in the Bible?” and, like you, I have no idea what he’s talking about. But when I Googled it on my phone as he was speaking, I discovered this. And realize he’s doing sciencey stuff in his free time, when he’s not making sheep bunks for his old mom.
And as soon as he’s done and headed out of the room, the six year old comes in a different door and starts talking about what kind of rabbits she’s going to have when she graduates from medical school and how she plans to dress them in little outfits and take them to work on leashes to keep her patients from being bored in the waiting room. And she’s asking if I have some spare fabric so she can start that project right now.
As she heads off to paint some bird houses instead of sewing, my mother arrives with a fist full of statements from her broker wanting to talk about how much better her portfolio could be managed if we would just spend an afternoon trading out stuff and cleaning the whole mess up. And she has quite a number of ideas on the subject.
And I’m smiling and nodding in the most noncommittal sort of way when the sixteen year old saunters in talking about election law reform, the galaxy-wide loss of popularity of the US, and asking for food. He then eats and leaves……
And just as my head begins to settle on the power line again, picking up some pitiful train of thought from three hours ago, the 17 yr old crashes into the house full of disturbing updates about her delinquent chemistry professor who made somebody cry, and how many drug dealers she observed while waiting at the bus station.
This sets my mind racing in all new directions, only to be interrupted by the ringing phone and the rice boiling over and the kittens falling into the toilet.
And then, Hark, it’s the doorbell heralding the unexpected arrival of the architect with drawings for Jon to look over, only Jon is still in the hospital with patients. I greet him at the door wishing I was wearing something other than spandex running tights and top, also wishing I could teleport my husband right home.
So that’s why I knit. Knitting creates a little bubble of isolation around me. Knitting is my little cave. When I am knitting, people come and talk to me and I can whisper, “sorry, I’m counting….” And they actually apologize and back out of the room. Because they were close to me the year I learned to knit lace and they know I cried over it from time to time.
And then, most of the time they can come and sit with me and do their talking, and it’s all friendly. But there is some kind of buffering membrane around me when I am knitting. It’s like a portable comfort zone. I think it makes me a kinder person, sometimes.
Sometimes ladies will suggest we gather for knitting as a group with cups of tea and lots of chit-chat. And I always say, Oh that sounds fun. But I wind up never going. I think it’s the chit-chat that scares me away. I’ve got all the chit-chat I can handle.
I knit alone mostly, and I am up to my eyeballs in Christmas knitting projects.
There’s a man’s Size Large sweater, a Size Six girl’s pink poncho, eight or twelve hats, a stack of washcloths for the ladies at Jon’s office, a lacy wrap, a super cool fair isle skirt in a Ladies Size Extra Small, a coffee pot cozy, and a blanket.
I have a written schedule to help me get them all finished in time for Christmas Eve. It’s crazy speed-knitting, and it’s making me faster.
And while I knit, they all talk to me. Roughly 50 days to go. It seems like a whole lot of time.