Sunday, April 29, 2012

When there's nothing to do

Today, instead of setting up a bunch of work to do this week while I'm away, I started the BobSocks. 

I might have mentioned last week that I was feeling compelled to do this for a variety of reasons, one of which is that apparently Bob has been wanting me to knit him socks.  

For a similar variety of reasons, I have been not wanting to knit Bob socks, none of which have anything to do with not loving Bob because I adore Bob.

I'll bet you a skein of sock yarn (see how I'm lowering my stakes here just in case, because I have a few of those to spare) you don't know too many other people who have the same best friend today that they had when they were old enough to sit up and fight over a teddy bear, do you?  Nope.  I'm six months older than Bob but since there was just one house between ours, and that house was on the back end of the same corner Bob's was on such that the corners of our own yards touched, that's the only six months he hasn't been in my life.

In fact, my first memory isn't as I would expect of my own mum even, but of - surprise! - fighting Bob for my teddy bear, in a playpen in his mum's living room, while our mums shopped for Avon lipstick.  I don't know how I remember this so vividly but I do.  And it was only today that it struck me my first memory is of my mum in a way after all, and also of Bob's mum, which is the

MOST compelling


cannot ignore

reason to have started the Bobsocks.  Even though the last thing I ever want to talk myself into is another pair of Mansocks because hello, it's all I can do to sustain interest for my own tidy little size 7 feet.

Still.  There is a lot of power of knitting, have you noticed? 

The thing is, Bob's mum has been very ill.  In the past few days it became clear her time was coming.  There was nothing for me to do about that, nothing I could do to make things better for Bob's family, these people I have known my entire life.  Just the one small thing for that one of them... so of course I have to knit Bob some socks, and of course I had to start them today, the first chance I had, because they needed to have his mum in them.  I didn't want them to be just grieving socks.  I started them in the car on my way to her home this morning, to prove to him that I had in fact got going.

(oddly, he didn't seem to care much. he will later though.)

When I arrived Bob's sisters invited me to sit by their mum's bed as she slept and to hold her hand, the hand that mixed more pitchers of Freshie for all we kids than you could possibly count - probably as many as the stitches in a Mansock.

(If you are too young to remember Freshie, think Kool-Aid.  For some reason Freshie lost out in the sugary drink competition, even though its packet had a brightly colourful toucan-like bird on the front and pretty silvery lining that, now I think of it, tasted horrible when you tried to lick out the last bits of powder that didn't make it into the water.)

An hour or so later, after I'd visited with everybody and gone off to have a quick lunch before heading home again, I picked up Bob's sock.  I knit a few stitches, the feel of his mum's hand suddenly very vivid again in mine, and I thought - how amazing to know I'm putting that energy straight into this fabric.

And then - at that moment, the thought only just complete in my mind - my cell phone buzzed in a text message to say she had gone.

Well, I didn't get very far into that sock today, did I.  Plus, it's looking like I may have to give up on putting a pattern in because I'm not even sure the one I planned on will show.  But I canNOT rip out that cuff because it's got a little of Bob's mum in it.  And finishing it off so he can wear it: that's something I can do.

(Cheerier post tomorrow, I promise: I did the Knitter's Frolic twice on Saturday and there is so much to tell!)


Karen said...

That's so lovely. I've done the same thing in the past, and somehow it's comforting to feel that the person's energy is bound up in what we knit.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Some people knit Prayer Shawls, we knit Prayer Socks... or maybe not even formal Prayer, but love and strength and Good Vibe socks... I'm glad that a bit of Bob's mother is in these socks that you're knitting for him.

Hugs to you, because this is your loss as well.