Sinterklaas is the Dutch version of St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus. My husband's father was born in Holland (as was my own mother), and he grew up with Sinterklass visits, and continued the tradition with us, starting the very first Christmas we were married. Sinterklaas comes on December 5th, leaving you to discover your gifts in your shoes the next morning.
My gift this past holiday was a pair of knitting needles, a skein of pretty varigated purple and turquoise yarn, and a book for beginning knitters with illustrated instructions and lots of knitting patterns. I started learning the cast on, knit and purl stitches from the book that same morning, and kept practicing later that day on the car trip home.
My first project was a scarf, which, due to my inexperience in judging size and wool amount, was quickly turning out to be not for me, as I had planned, but for the Winnie the Pooh bear that lives in Nik's crib. Ah, well. I knew that next I would try a real pattern, and could avoid that particular way-too-small pitfall. After learning that I was expecting our second child, a child likely conceived during our Sinterklass weekend getaway, I knew just which pattern I wanted to try. My knitting book had a simple pattern for a very pretty baby blanket - no increases or decreases, just the straight knit and purl stitches I had already learned and practiced, and it turned out a cute grid pattern. Perfect.
I bought the wool at Michaels shortly after Christmas, but didn't start the blanket right away. I didn't want to make the new hobby mistake of just starting projects and never finishing them. I had to finish that darn scarf first! Poor Winnie the Pooh must be cold in just that t-shirt in this dreaded Winnipeg winter. How could I let him down? The new yarn sat with my pattern in my knitting bag, untouched, while I worked on the scarf.
Then one Saturday in late January, I found brown spotting in my underpants. Probably nothing. When it was still happening on Monday, I called the public health nurse, who told me to see someone in a few days if it didn't stop. Still spotting, I bought the right size needles for the baby blanket that Wednesday and cast on the first row.
Thursday afternoon, I went down to my GP's office as a walk-in. Getting up to 16 rows while waiting to see the doctor, I was knitting faster than ever. My doctor sent me home with the next week off work, and instructions to take it easy: "I think it will correct itself if you give it a chance. No lifting. Just rest."
"Alright, " I thought, "I'll just sit and knit."
Sunday morning, I went to church on my own, while my husband stayed home with Nik. The message was about heaven, and the pastor opened with these words from the Eric Clapton song:
"Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven ?The paster went on to comfort the congregation with Scriptures indicating that we would know our loved ones in heaven, and even though the nature of the relationships will change, they will surpass even the best relationships we experience in this life. I gave God a dirty look in my heart. I do not need a sermon about death right now, Lord. Everything is going to be fine.
Will it be the same, if I saw you in heaven ?"
Will it be the same, if I saw you in heaven ?"
On the way home from the service, I heard that same Eric Clapton song on my car stereo. It was, unbeknownst to me, just up next in my playlist. I didn't like the omen. That afternoon, I knit my baby blanket. In the evening, when I went to my parent's for supper, I took everything along, and just kept knitting.
Knitting became my plea, my physical prayer. Surely, the baby would HAVE to come if there was a handmade blanket being prepared for it. The Lord would see how I am preparing for this child so much, even in just the second month. Knit 8, purl 8, knit 4, purl 8... My hands moved in my desperate plea for mercy.
On Monday, my spotting turned to bleeding, and by the end of the day it was a full period flow. I knit my blanket. I knit on Tuesday, too, even while trying to keep an eye on my active 2 year old son. Tuesday morning, Nik interuptted me when I was halfway through the 2nd knit row in the pattern. I pushed my knitting far down on the needles, and put it down to read him a story. Then I got busy, and put my knitting away in my knitting bag, planning to finish the row just a little later.
Tuesday evening, just before Nik's bedtime, I had contractions. I knew what they were. Nothing feels like labour but labour. 15 minutes later I had passed the miscarriage I knew deep down had occured days before. As my husband helped me pack some things to take along to the emergency room, he asked me, "Do you want your knitting?"
"No, just leave it," I said. And I have left it. I haven't finished that half-finished row. I haven't even touched it. I just put my knitting bag back into the corner where I keep it.
I know God understands. He is a knitter, too, after all. And when he starts knitting again, so will I.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."