by Melissa Mall
Have you ever had a day when everything went wrong?
It started out first thing in the morning, when I was woken up before my alarm by the sound of children fighting. Nothing sets my teeth on edge the way that dragging myself out of bed with eyes only half open to stop a quarrel will. The day didn’t get better from there. It was one of those days when everyone seems to get on each other’s nerves no matter what you do, and by the time lunch rolled around I was more than ready to put my three-year-old twins in bed for their nap just so that I could get some rest.
I put them to bed, but like a pair of Jack-in-the-boxes, they just kept popping back up. I grumbled and realized I would need to sit in the chair in their room until they fell asleep – something that, on their wiggly days, takes up to an hour. Casting around for something to do so that I would have the patience to stay in there as long as required, my eyes fell on a skein of yarn that I had meant to turn into something warm and simple. I grabbed it and a hook and settled into the old blue-upholstered glider, shooing my boys back into their blankets.
Beginning a project is one of my least favorite parts, but once I got the first row set up I just let my fingers go. That’s one of the best parts, I think. At least, it is when I’m feeling stressed. My hands, through much practice, know exactly how to place the hook and pull each loop to make the basic stitches. Watching my fingers build something brick by tiny brick, mostly without direction from me, was soothing. I worked as the boys’ giggles turned into yawns, and the longer I worked, the calmer I got. By the time they were fast asleep, I had a small but growing rectangle to show for my trouble, and – better than that – a sense of peace for the first time that day.
That’s not to say that everyone magically began getting along after I had my moment of serenity. The difference wasn’t in them, it was in the way I reacted to them. That small moment of peace, that sense of accomplishment, the calm – it carried me through the day and helped me (at the very least) avoid contributing to the arguing.
There was another night, when a persistent cough turned me from my bed in the early predawn darkness. It was storming, with flashes of lightning coming like fireworks on the fourth of July. Rumbling thunder and the occasional ear-splitting crack of a closer strike were the only sounds in the whole house – excluding, of course, the sound of my lungs attempting to escape my body through my throat. I tried to distract myself online, catching up on some blog reading, looking at GIFs of drowsy kittens, and scrolling through Pinterest. Time passed, but as the storm intensified the power began to surge and flicker and it seemed like a good idea to get off of the computer.
Still unwilling to go back to bed, I glanced around the living room for something to do. My eyes fell on my latest project, laying in an ungraceful, partially unraveled heap on the coffee table where I had abandoned it halfway through an episode of Battlestar Galactica the night before. If I was going to be awake in what I irritably termed the middle of the night, I thought, I might as well have something to show for it.
Swinging through the kitchen for a mug of hot water with honey and lemon, I settled back onto the couch and picked up my project. It would have been finished but I didn’t like how the edging had turned out, so I was going to rip it out and try again. The yarn was a fuzzy wool, prone to sticking lightly to itself, and so I had given up on unraveling it until I had gotten some sleep. Good thing I didn’t specify how much, I thought. As the rain poured outside, I carefully pulled and untwisted the finished end – already partially woven in – until it came free. Then, slowly and gently, I began unraveling. Stitch after stitch pulled loose, with the occasional snag easily unstuck. Rip. Rip. Rip rip rip. The pile of crinkled yarn to my left grew steadily taller, and before long the edging had been completely pulled back.
After that it was short work to crochet it back on. Sipping from my mug, listening to the storm quieting as the lightning moved off over the hills, tranquility settled once more over me. My cough subsided just a bit, and before I knew it I had finished my problem project. I was content then to head back to my bed, happy despite the fact that the sun was still not up, to try and catch a bit more sleep before the morning as I reflected that crocheting is one of my favorite ways to bring a glimmer of serenity into the chaos that is my life.
About the Author
Melissa Mall is an at-home mom with four sons nine and under. They have settled in to a quiet (or “quiet,” if you like) rural life in Missouri and are enjoying doing things like gardening and keeping chickens in the backyard. You can keep up with their ordinary adventures over at her blog, or take a peek at her crochet patterns and tutorials at Inner Child Crochet.
Article © Melissa Mall. All rights reserved.