My mother welcomes us, as always, with a smile and warm hugs. Through my whole life, this is something I have always been able to count on: my mother's warm welcome. She always greets us with joy, and bustles to put the kettle on.
I make my way into the sunroom, where my mom's friend and my aunts are already sitting, head to head, talking gussets, lace patterns, and wrap-and-turns. Sounds like words you might hear at a convention for burlesque dancers, but we're here to knit socks.
We're all in various stages of sock-knitting. My Aunt Karen wants to learn to knit toe-up socks, and I'm here to finally finish what were supposed to be my 37th Birthday Socks. I got stuck on the heel, and after doing them twice, I'm seeking Marg's help. Marg is a bit of an expert when it comes to socks. She knits them constantly, and donates them, gives them out like candy, like something that didn't take hours of time and expertise to create.
Right now she's working on tiny ones to donate to a Grandmothers to Grandmothers fundraiser (Stephen Lewis' brainchild, to benefit the women in Africa who are raising their grandchildren, orphaned by HIV/AIDS).
With the tea, the old photos come out and my aunts reminisce as my sister and I listen, then laugh uproariously at the way these older sisters tease and shock each other. The talk turns to old boyfriends, and marriage, and those who are now gone.
My own children wander in and out for hugs, and act shyly around these women who look and sound so much like their beloved Nanny. Time folds in on itself, and I remember feeling the same way about my Nanny and her sisters.
The talk turns back to knitting. The unsatisfactory heel: too short. Marg diagnoses the problem: these socks need gussets!
She guides me down the path to sock-greatness.
Life's best moments are these: spending time with people you love, who have known you since you were a child, doing something you love together. With them, I am ageless; their hugs are the same as they were when I was little, their scent and voices extensions of the generations of women who have gone before them.
They say that the best way to ensure that your children are musically inclined is to surround them with people who play music.
I expect that this is the same theory for knitting; my children will never remember a time when they weren't surrounded by women knitting, laughing, drinking tea, and remembering.