Dear ball of yarn,
We find ourselves together at the break of dawn on a terrace in an apartment in the middle of Barcelona.
Unlike the other four balls of yarn before you, you aren’t wound up so tight. Perhaps they weren’t either. Perhaps it was just me that tightly wound, trying to tug and pull so fiercely at them in airport lounges, airplanes, car rides, restaurants, parks, couches, and beds all over New York City, Toronto, and now, in Barcelona.
I have knit furiously for the last few weeks. You have sat silently in the corner of the room or the bottom of a bag waiting for your turn. Knitting has become a safe place for me to feel because that’s all I have done this month – feel. Instead of writing which involves a lot of my heart and too much emotion, I have turned to my hands and my will. And when it gets too much, just before the dam breaks, I focus on the softness of what I have made thus far and the single stitch on my needle.
You are the last one my friend. The last ball of yarn to finish my project. But I have slowed down now that we are here. Here at the place where I have to finish. The place where I have to knit your final strand so that I can give this labour of love away. It will get done. But now that it is near the end, I am slowing down to savour, to bless, and to love each stitch.
You are a part of the whole. The last line in a long story.
In September 1997, pregnant with my eldest, I picked up another thread to weave into my own story. So entwined into mine for almost two decades, it seemed like this was the time to tie up the loose ends so that she could weave her own.
So with you, and the other balls of yarn, I have spent the last few weeks knitting a blanket. She chose white and cream, and then you, a single grey ball for the end.
When she was born, she was wrapped in a pink receiving blanket at the hospital. I still have it. The pink has dulled. The edges are frayed. There is blue on the other side which her father normally chose as the side to wrap her in after that initial pink announcing that she is a girl. I thought about giving it to her as a gift but that blanket is for me to keep. It is the day I received the gift of motherhood. The day I received her into my arms, my life, my tapestry. Another life stage for me – motherhood. She chose me to take care of her and be her mother for the rest of her life. And I accepted. I kept her warm in that blanket, always keeping her swaddled and protected when she wasn’t near me or on me.
Today I am knitting a different type of blanket. It is a giving blanket. It is a blanket to give her to herself and to the world. It is a reminder to her and to myself that she will now give birth to herself over and over again as she enters womanhood. I will never stop being her mother but I must stop being the one to knit her story with mine. I am ready to give birth to her one last time.
This blanket is knit with every intention I have had for her since the day she was born – the blanket I would have wanted to make for her as a baby. With every stitch, I pray. With every stitch, I give thanks for every moment we have been together. With every stitch, I whisper all the things I have to say that I can’t say out loud. With every stitch, I pour love, love, love.
This is why I pull you softly to me, my last ball of yarn. I know we are almost done. I stop between stitches to dry my eyes. I pause the clacking of needles when there is a lull in traffic so I can catch the sound of her deep sleep breathing in the room next door. Part of me is reluctant to knit so fast. Maybe if I slow down, time will grind to a halt too. But I know it won’t. I know this has to finish. Pulling the thread won’t rewind the last nineteen years or stop me from coming undone with the moment I eventually have to face.
When we finish, I will give her this giving blanket. A blanket that will find it’s home in an apartment that will be her own, in a city that will become her own. I will lay it on my lap on the ride there, letting it keep me warm for a moment and letting it comfort me softly. I will whisper a final blessing and let go. Let go my labour of love.