I'm sitting here on a beautiful, bright and warm Sunday afternoon reading my email quickly, while making dinner, and I came across a comment left on my blog from an old friend. I say "old" but my friend is not "old" just someone whom I haven't talked to in awhile though we've known each other for 9 years. Well, no, I guess it would be 10 now, Helen, considering we were pregnant together! And our oldests are 9!
I met Helen online. I forget exactly "where". Maybe she can remember that far back. ha ha! Helen was a newlywed of about a year and had discovered that she was pregnant. That was exciting to share with her. I had been married 8 years and my husband and I had not experienced that joy. We thought we would have to adopt if we were going to hear the pitter-patter of little feet running through our home. Well, soon after uttering the "A" word, I found out I was pregnant! This had to only be a week or two after discovering Helen was pregnant. I jokingly blamed her for me getting pregnant. I mean, I had just met her online, she got pregnant, and then all of the sudden, after 8 years of no pregnancy, I'm pregnant, too? Yeah, I blamed her! Something in the airwaves, or something. But it was great fun going through our first pregnancy together, especially when we discovered our babies were due in the same month. I believe it was her that invited me to an online "April Baby Loop", a group of women whose babies were due in April 1998. Even today, nine years later, there are a few of the original 40-something ladies still chatting and sharing news about their "babies" and their life even today.
Back in 1998 when we were both pregnant, I wanted to learn to knit. I had learned to crochet when I was a little 6 year old girl. But now I was pregnant with my own daughter, my first child, and I determined that after wanting to knit for several years, but not knowing anyone who could teach me, I'd teach myself. So I found a book on knitting and went at it. However, the awkwardness of holding a needle in EACH hand compared to only a single hook in crochet, and the feeding of the yarn from my right hand, when I was used to feeding it from the left, just simply overwhelmed me. I felt I could not get it! Looking back I know it was just the awkwardness of doing something that my mind was telling me was "like" crocheting (yarn, needles), yet coming to the realization that it was still different. I couldn't get comfortable holding an instrument in each hand, getting those hands to work TOGETHER, and then having to LET GO of one of the instruments to "yarn over"! It was the same feeling of awkwardness I felt when my daddy taught me to drive a "stick-shift", and I had to drive with TWO feet, letting up on the clutch while pressing down on the gas....yeah, I remember that feeling! I thought I'd never get over the whiplash that caused! I was so eager to knit that I probably expected results just too quickly, not realizing that it was going to take some time to get the hang of making my two hands work together. I about gave up.
But Helen, after learning of my endeavor to knit, invited me to an online knitting group. I can't remember who invited whom, but it seems she invited me. So I joined, read the posts, got excited, REALLY wanted to learn to knit. But after just not "feeling it", and ready to give up, some of the knitters suggested that because I was a crocheter first, that perhaps I could knit the way I crocheted, feeding the yarn from my left hand and not yarning over. They even already had a name for this. And other people knit like this! CONTINENTAL! Ironically, I remember trying to knit like this, feeding the yarn from my left, and I felt like I wasn't "doing it right" when I did this. I had no one IRL who could confirm that I was still ending up with the correct stitch. But after hearing the knitters online say "yes, you can knit like that. I knit like that." I was given a fresh burst of enthusiasm, and I began knitting Continental-style! Yippee! I was officially a knitter now!
Helen was first a knitter. I was first a crocheter. She always said she couldn't get the hang of crocheting, that she had tried, and that she'd never learn to crochet...blah blah blah (ha ha) Yeah, I've heard that story before, can you tell? Well, if I'm not mistaken, the years passed, and I vaguely remember reading her blog where she posted about learning to crochet! She even had a book on Crocheted Sweaters that I coveted! I was very happy for her when I read that she had learned to crochet. You go girl! We like to share our crafts, after all, right?
As time and children and life can do, friendships can ebb, and Helen and I don't get a chance to talk much anymore. I visit her blog occasionally and she mine, but 9 years and 3 children later, life is not the same for me as it was when it was just me in the excitement of being pregnant with my first child. I'm sure Helen and all the mothers out there know what I mean. Nowadays there are days I feel like I'm just holding onto a thread of what was "me", afraid that if I let go I'll never find myself again. And some days I think I should just let go of that thread and pour myself into my family and forget about "me". I'm never quite sure. So I just hang on.
Last night was one of those times when I was reading through Helen's blog. It had been awhile since I read. Maybe since before her father died, which was August last year. Reading it, I hoped I had remembered to send her a card. I had thought of it, but did I do it? I'm often thinking of cards to send and letters to write, but I fail to follow through on my thoughts so often. And then I saw pictures of her two boys and how they've grown. Wow. And after she left a comment on my blog this morning, when I'm relatively certain I had not left one on hers (I wanted to remain incognito), I feel I'd been 'found out'! Like "Hey, you were on my blog, so I'm coming over to see what you're up to!" I did go back to her blog and leave a comment and told her that I would post a recent picture of my children for her viewing pleasure. Then we can ooh and ahhh about how quickly the children have grown.
So this is for you, Helen! Here is my 9 year old and her sister and brother.