Saturday, November 1, 2008
I can't believe it's been over a month since I've posted. Probably because so damn much happened in the last 4 weeks. We went down to Jersey for the family party, went to Syracuse for my brother's wedding, I got sick, Charlotte got sick, we took the cat to the vet, tried to find a fall experience, and so on. It's not just this blog that is suffering. I never decorated for Halloween or finished the scrapbook I wanted to give my brother and his fiancee before they were husband and wife. We still haven't hung up art in our new apartment, and I haven't sorted through my clothes to put away summer stuff and give stuff to the Salvation Army. I've been thinking up blog entries and jotting down ideas in my notebook and in my "sketchbook" blog, but not really posting anywhere. I'm barely keeping up reading all my favorite blogs.
Whining aside, it's been a really thrilling month. I love seeing Charlotte hang out with her 8 year old cousin, K. He's a blast anyway, and I've loved him fiercely since he was a tiny, tiny tot. Seeing him with Charlotte has melted me in a way that I can't really explain - they are cousins, they are related, they are the next generation, and for the time being, they really like each other.
I'm starting to really realize what I can and can't do, and what has escaped me forever. I know that sounds really dramatic, but it's kind of a weird feeling to be picking up little clothes and realizing that Charlotte is never going to wear them again. It's not like my winter pants - I'll see those again next year. She's just not going to wear that tiny pink Red Sox tee shirt next season. Those lady bug Robeez? Not going to be on her feet again.
One thing that I'm kind of sad about is that I never finished a sweater that I really wanted to make for her. I'm a knitter - one who never has time to knit anymore - and I had a lot of things I really wanted to make for her. I've been planning the things to knit for my baby since I first started knitting again in college after a decade-long hiatus. I have patterns and yarn that I bought specifically with MY baby in mind, years before Charlotte was born. I've wanted a baby for so long, and I knew I shouldn't have a baby just yet, but I wanted to prepare. To have a kind of baby hope chest. That seems kind of dorky and desperate, now that I've put it in words, but it's true. I have a lot of plans for my life, personally and professionally, and some of those are on hold, but I always knew I wanted to have a baby, too. When I was a teenager, and couldn't ever imagine being married to someone for the rest of my life, I still imagined myself as a mother. A starving artist in New Orleans feeding her kid from a farmers market and cafe, no less.
Anyway, there is one sweater that I bought the yarn for and printed out the pattern as soon as I saw it. Baby Norgi. The pattern date is spring 2003 - which means it was out before I was married - before I was even engaged! - but I knew I wanted to knit it, and I wanted to knit it for MY baby. I finally started it, 4 years later, when I was pregnant with Charlotte. When I started it, I didn't know whether I was having a girl or a boy, and that was fine with me, since I had gotten the yarn in a gender neutral green and off white colorway. I found out, pretty quickly, that knitting when I was pregnant had the same effect as reading in a car. All those tiny stitches lined up in a row aggravated my morning sickness. Then I found out I was having a girl.
Even though I had bought the yarn in green, I had still always kind of imagined that I'd have a boy first. I'm not sure why, I think it was sort of because I had always wanted a big brother, so I wanted my kids to have a big brother. Maybe it was because Matt had a boys name picked out since, like, 2002. Whatever the reason, I always imagined knitting the sweater for a boy, even though I was determined to knit it in green. Between the mental picture of a round, blond little boy fading away, and the urge to vomit whenever I knit, I just never got around to finishing that sweater. I did knit Charlotte a special little layette, all for her, with yarn that I picked up from a fair just a few days after I found out that I was having a girl. She wore the sweater almost constantly for the first 5 months, and the hat even longer. But I never did finish Baby Norgi.
I kept convincing myself that since I was knitting a larger size, Charlotte could wear it this winter if I finished it by Christmas. And it's so lovely, and I love the yarn, and the pattern is fun. I've worked on it a lot, and I know the size, I know how it would go over her head and fit around her chubby little torso. But when I was changing Charlotte's diaper last night, and putting her skeleton sweatsuit on yesterday for the Halloween Potluck Lunch, I realized that it WASN'T going to fit. Charlotte was never going to wear the sweater I'd been dreaming about for 5 years.
It's kind of a weird feeling. I've been imagining MY kid in THAT sweater for so long. I've been imagining CHARLOTTE in that sweater for 13 months. And I've been making a lot of judgments about myself as a mother and a creative person based on the fact that I have only ever knit my kid one sweater. It's a strange thing to realize that I have been holding onto these thoughts. I feel like I've let myself down. But at the same time, I know that I'm my harshest critic, and to keep relying on these arbitrary, self-determined measures is not good for me. So I'm prepared to let it go. Charlotte is not going to wear Baby Norgi. If I finish it at all, it's not going to go to her. She might not get any sweater at all this year that was made by me. And that doesn't mean I suck as a mom, or a knitter. No one else would say that to me, so I really don't need to say it to myself. Charlotte isn't going to miss another sweater. What she would miss is those stories I've read, the songs we've sung, and the million silly little games we've played. She won't feel the lack, and I shouldn't either.