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My finished project

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My finished project

There’s a feeling I always get when I finish a big knitting project. It’s a combination of feelings really. There’s satisfaction -- the satisfaction of this big accomplishment. There’s a certain amount of relief that it’s finally over and I’ve managed to get through it from beginning to end.  And at some level there is sadness. This project with all of its challenges and frustrations was a lovely journey—a worthy effort that is now over.  My project is a finished thing.  This project that consumed so much of my time and mental energy is no longer part of me. Blocked and seamed, it is not my project but its own entity. A garment in its own right, completely without need of my knitting skills.

That’s how kids are – they need you for every step, until they don’t.  Then, hopefully, they are fully functioning well-adjusted contributing members of society.  You have what my friend Paula Mitchell calls Triple E kids: Educated, Employed, and living Elsewhere. It’s the plan all along. It’s the goal.

As you probably know, I pushed my last fledgling from the nest last week. Colton is on the path to being on his own.  He may come back for summers at home, as Johnny and Katie did, or he may, like Elizabeth, have internships every summer and never really live with us again.  Either way, I am used to the feelings – satisfaction and relief tinged with sadness.  This time was different somehow, and my tears take me quite by surprise.

I always have several knitting projects going at a time.  Not too many, but certainly not just one at a time.  Maybe three or four. Some knitters love casting on new projects.  Casting on is my least favorite part.  When I finish one project, I like to have something else already on the needles that I can dive right into.  That’s how I keep my momentum going.  There is always something I can work on – something that needs my attention.  In my parenting life, I am, for the moment, without a project.  No one needs help with anything at all.  It is so strange – I am adrift. 

Then I get a text from my Katie in Chicago.  Can you talk?  I just want to run something by you. Projects change, but we remain knitters.  Children don’t have to be in our home to be in our hearts.  Their needs change, but their need for us, and ours for them, is forever.