One skein of yarn has hardly any weight to it. Purple twisted blue and somewhat fraying, it's four years old. The barely rolled ball is what remains from my niece's baby blanket. Ignoring extreme wrist pain and small bruises that appeared in my upper thigh, I knit Ofir’s blanket in a frenzy in less than three weeks so that I could send it before returning to Guatemala. The yarn escaped the dog hair that the second skein didn't.
The date on the calendar says it's International Women's Day. Girls. International women's day. I first learned to mark that particular day while working in Guatemala. I paid less attention to that day than my friends’ C-section just three months after Ofir was born to bring her own daughter into the world. I passed the day off as first world rhetoric repeated by funded projects as the right thing to say while women were coerced into marriage and left with fourth grade educations. What worth could such a message have from those lips? In that language?
The second skein is thick, not yet started and dusted in white hairs. I had decided I didn't need to knit its width and length. I was so excited to have planned the blanket for the second baby so well, knitting slowly across the summer. I wanted to seal it in its brown box to cross the ocean. My actions were not premature; the baby girl wasn’t either. She wasn’t anything at all. The blanket arrived in the same week the baby died in utero, another girl. She entered the world already gone.
The date on the calendar says it's too early to know the sex of my brother's new baby. I stare at the two skeins of yarn and consider the next blanket. It seems too early to start. What if I start and the baby dies again? Then, what have I done. Still, remaining too cautious could also be detrimental. I can also knit because I believe the best will happen, because I am celebrating at least the nine months the baby will be with us no matter what happens next.
The third skein is still a mystery. It won’t be passionate. It won’t be deliberate. It’s hard not to be afraid, it won’t be anything at all. I suppose that's how all life sits, a rolled up ball of possible yarns, some more used, some older than others. It's hard to start. It’s harder to start again on a new pattern. That’s what spring is, yarn plucked from a shelf, an unborn baby and many other unknown ends rolled up in an oval skein, waiting for sisters.
"Is it a coincidence that Purim is almost the same date as International Women's Day? Because, you know, of Ester?" a coworker asks.
"I don't think so,” I reply. “It's not always on the same day in March. But I like Ester as an everyday heroine.”
The date on the calendar says it's not quite spring. I decide not to buy new yarn, but to knit with what I have in my possession. The old and new skeins are not in knots. I unravel each to reveal how much is left of them. I have just enough of Ofir's color for the cast on and cast off edges. I have just enough of Ori's color to complete the first and last time pattern rows repeat. I can start. I should start. Today, yesterday, any day, any date, can be women’s day full of accessible heroines, like my niece to feel connected to, like I would have liked her sister to have felt connected to. Someone worth knowing, a woman I would like to be.
For more wonderful videos related to teacher training or literacy program development in rural Guatemala, please visit www.child-aid.org. I have no v...