Out of nowhere, I was struck with thoughts of my kids who are all busily, productively, living their lives.
Consider a skein of yarn – all twisted and wrapped and looped around a center – all holding the promise of unraveling into something; a sweater, a cap, a scarf, mittens, a blanket. The process of knitting will produce something different than the original, often leaving nothing of the original unit behind but a few inches of yarn.
One short piece – frazzled and worn thin.
That’s how you can feel when you’re suddenly standing there looking at an empty nest that used to be bustling and full.
Your work and your joy, play and creation, your being and your days and your prayers;
giggles and heartaches, helping and lifting; tucking in and picking up – finished.
At least on a full time basis.
Miss them? Certainly.
That’s only natural.
But look again at what you helped create.
That well crafted, richly colored sweater.
The beautiful periwinkle shade of the cap and mittens to warm someone else.
A toddler’s favorite blanket with spaces between the yarn just the right size for little fingers to play with and poke through, with a texture soft enough to pull close as sleep comes.
Would you have had them remain bound in the skein?
All those yarns were a symphony of color to me as I wandered the aisles.
Just as our children do.
Those short frayed pieces left behind should be honored.
That’s you and your work. That’s the wellspring of your heart.
How and where are your children now?
What shape are they taking?
Can you see your hand in who they are becoming?
I touched the yarns; turned the skeins over in my hands.
I studied the workmanship in the finished pieces on display.
I took a seat for a few minutes, because there were a few very comfy, inviting chairs
and perused a couple knitting books just to peek at the process.
but there’s also the very necessary part of the process called casting off.
The yarn moves and loops through the needles, in a rhythmic click, click, click, before being cast off toward what it will become.
So it was with our mothering; day by day, night by night, week by month by year.
Nudge by nudge, each reassurance and letting go a little at a time, you mothered, pulling from your children what they could be, casting off click by click as their form, their personality, their true color and their purpose took form.
The casting off is essential or all that beautiful yarn (the stuff of who they are) would have remained choked and crowded and stagnant on the needles with nowhere to go and no life of its own.
Our children go off to college or a new job, join the military or start a new family of their own.
So then, what about you?
What will you do differently now?
The world is as full of promise as we make it.
Your children are buoyed and calmed by your joy.
Do more of what makes you happy.
But don’t stop.
Maybe slip into a yarn store next time your path crosses one.
See if the colors and textures, the promise of those skeins and the knowledge that there’s still so much to be done will pull you, if you feel at times like a tucked away strand of used up yarn, into the light and the pattern of life that is never really complete.
See if it doesn’t call you up to more.