This week, I finished a knitting project (the Mohair Bias Loop BY Churchmouse Yarns and Teas) that I started two weeks after Cora was born. It is a fuzzy cowl of indeterminate length, knit on the bias, which can also double as a shawl. It is the simplest of knitting patterns, with two rows that repeat until the desired length. I usually go for intricate projects that bring me a lot of mental interest – either in their construction or the new techniques that I’ll have to learn to complete them, but with a baby in immediate view, I thought the simpler that I could go, the more likely I would be able to work on it.
I didn’t even get creative with the yarn. I admired a friend’s cowl so much that she led me to the same booth at Rhinebeck where she had bought her yarn and I picked out a color that I liked. In the fiber world, we call this mindless knitting — the knitting your fingers do while your mind goes elsewhere. It’s knitting as meditation, a way to free your mind to be calmed by the simple repetitive movements of your fingers as you loop and pass the yarn from one stitch to the next, from one needle to the next. The only challenge in the pattern was the yarn itself — it takes a brave or foolhardy knitter to commit to a large project in mohair, but I was not afraid.
For the first time since Cora was born, I’ve taken my knitting with me on the train to work. I was so close to the end of the cowl that I wanted to use the train time to sew the final seam. I want to start other things because it’s taken me nearly five months to knit a single, simple project. As I sat on the train this past week, I put in my headphones and plugged into my Audible account, picking up with listening to Patrick Rothfuss‘s The Name of the Wind, which I started listening to a very long time ago. Is there anything more relaxing than quietly creating while having someone read you a story? Combined with the motion of the train as we whizzed through the suburbs of Queens, I rediscovered a place of tranquillity that I have missed over the last year.
I was so relaxed, in fact, that on Thursday night I walked off the train without my cooler of breast milk — which is perhaps the most important thing that I do all day long. Losing it would be such a disaster that I’ve occasionally dreamt about misplacing it and woken up in a panic. It’s taken a special significance lately, as my body seems to be steadily producing less milk, despite my many efforts to encourage it to increase. Thursday was a good day — four bottles — and the thought of losing them threw me into a panic.
I ran. I ran to my car and whipped out of the parking lot and down the road to catch the train. I live two stops from the end of the line, so there was a possibility that I could catch the train before it turned around again to go back into Manhattan, but I knew I had to hurry.
It’s amazing how long four miles can seem. Every light that turned red against me seemed to take forever, though in reality they were not red long enough for me to unlock my phone and send a message to my Beloved to let him know why the milk cow was late. The thought of delaying Cora’s last feeding as I chased her bottles was horrible, but the thought of losing them was even worse.
I got the cooler back. I ran up and down the platform like a crazy thing until a kind MTA employee unlocked the closed cars and let me retrieve it. Panting and sweating, I made it back to my car and raced home. Parking as fast as I could, I walked around the corner to the sight of my Beloved and Cora standing in my doorway, waiting for me to come home.
A smile broke out across my face and my anger at my carelessness was forgotten. My family. My home. My everything, right there in the doorway, waiting for me, despite my mistakes.