My goodness. It’s been so long. I apologize for my absence, but I assure you I have not been idle!
I started this shawl last August, days before the new school year began. Weeks before things would start to change for me in a very big way. I knitted this shawl for ten months and only finished it in June, just as the school year was ending.
You see, last year I started working as an assistant and sometimes a sub at our children’s Montessori school. This past Summer, I took my training to begin teaching this year. This is a dream come true for me and even after all of these months of preparation, I sometimes can’t believe it’s happening.
When I look at this shawl, I can see a timeline of sorts. I can see the beginning, I can see the months of preparation, I can see where I am now. When I wear it around my neck or shoulders I can feel the comfort of my own company. This shawl is worn often. I am wearing it right now.
While at training over the Summer, a great friend sent me a package, yarn. MadTosh, tosh light in sugar plum, to be exact. Shortly after, I started a new shawl, a new timeline. This shawl is another Melanie Berg pattern, Rheinlust. Right now, it is difficult to find time for my newest shawl as my knitting fingers are often busy typing. When I can, I knit a few stitches, maybe a few rows. Hopefully, months from now, I will have a new record, one of my first year as a Montessori teacher.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, and certainly during the postpartum period when N was born, but I struggle with anxiety. I feel like this is important to put out there because there are so many of us that face this, sit with it, try to make space for it. I’ve been working for a long time to learn to make space for the anxiety and just let it be what it is, a feeling, a temporary state. Not a thing that defines who I am or a character flaw, just a passing state of being.
Some days it is easier to be with the anxiety than others. Other days all I really need is to fold the laundry. I know what you may be thinking, and no I haven’t reached some holy level of domesticity. The thing is though, that the laundry is just the laundry. When I’m in a state that…
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We’ve had a long Winter this year, full of childhood illnesses. Being the youngest and most vulnerable, N has been hit the hardest. While I have, admittedly, lost a lot of sleep, days of work, and occasionally perspective (what is this dark terrible magic that has crept into my child’s eye causing it to pink and ooze? should I just give the pediatrician’s office a direct line to our savings now and call it a day? why can’t I lactate on demand?), I’ve also felt a great deal of honor and humility.
Nothing can humble a mighty mother so quickly as a sick child. The very same baby you held in your arms not so long ago, now struggling to breathe and gasping through the night. The endless coughing that seems to respond to nothing and no one. The crying that you can only try to console with your own arms because the rest has to come with time. There is no way to fix it in this moment. All you can do is be there, witness, console. But also, oh, what an honor to be the one whose arms comfort a sick child. To be the one to bring the heating pad and the tea and the picture books.
To be the one whose mere presence makes it all just a little bit better. For that, I am grateful.
*Note: Please do not get the wrong impression. N will be ok. It’s just been quite a haul getting her feeling well again.
Should you be looking for a last minute valentine idea, how about bookmarks?
This project was simple, inexpensive, and we love the way they came out! O, age 6, was able to make bookmarks for his classmates completely independently. N, age 4, required a little help from an adult but not much. I did the prep work by cutting the paper paint color samples to the correct size and cutting all the lengths of ribbon the same size. The children did the rest of the work using a heart-shaped hole punch for each colored square and a regular circle hole punch for the ribbon at the top. On the back of the bookmarks O wrote the names of his classmates along with his own name. N just signed her own name, as all the bookmarks are essentially the same. Not differentiating the bookmarks to individual students will make it easier on her when it is time to give them.
What do your valentines look like this year?
*In the interest of full-disclosure, I have to say I originally saw this idea on Pinterest. However, I have been unable to reach the original blog post.
In my recent ROTH piece For the Love of Handwork, I wrote about making a felt book for O. While the journey was thoroughly enjoyable, I thought it might be nice to also take some time to share the finished product with you. The Cover/Back Cover: My favorite part of this is his name. He can trace over it with his finger (kind of like a sandpaper letter) and it can help with recognizing his own name as well. There is also a pocket on the front under his name to store extra pieces along with a matchbox car for the road pages. The back cover has the year and, of course, love mama. The Seasons Page: The tree can be decorated with various pieces to match the seasons (spring flowers, summer greenery, fall leaves, bare for winter). I also embroidered some words for the different parts…
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