A few weeks ago, Sophie appeared while I was working on her new purple jumper.

“Is it nearly finished, Mum?” she asked, hopping about with excitement.

“All I have to do is knit the neckband and sew it all together. Easy!” I was certain there was only an hour or so of work ahead of me.

But when Sophie next arrived to see how I was getting on, I was in all kinds of trouble. I found it difficult to pick up the necessary stitches around the neck for the band, and then I just couldn’t operate the circular needles. I attached the hood and it was lopsided, so I had to do a lot of unpicking and restitching.

“It’s not going to look very good,” I told Sophie with a big sigh, and then added, “I don’t think I want to knit anything ever again.”

Don’t you hate it when a project becomes frustrating? I wished I’d never started knitting this jumper. I wanted to throw everything into my workbasket and abandon it. But I knew I couldn't do that. Sophie was waiting.

“I don’t mind what it looks like Mum. It’ll be wonderful to me.”

A long time later, the jumper was finished. I called Sophie and she ran off to try it on.

“It’s beautiful, Mum! It’s perfect!”

It isn’t really perfect. Sophie didn’t notice the uneven stitches, or the line where I changed from one dye lot to another, or the troublesome neckband. All she saw was a new jumper that was made just for her. She looked at that jumper and saw love.

Mothering is a bit like knitting. We start out with great excitement and such hope… We look at the pattern. We are going to do a perfect job. We cast on the stitches and off we go, and everything proceeds stocking-stitch smoothly for a while. We achieve much with little effort and then… We come to a tricky bit but we persevere and we conquer and we feel great. Then one day the challenge becomes too much. We wonder why we started and just feel like running away and abandoning everything. Some days we make so many mistakes we are sure they’ll leave their mark forever. 

“I love you, Mum!” says Sophie, putting her arms around me. “You’re the best mother in the world.”

“I make lots of mistakes.”

Sophie looks puzzled. Mistakes? She doesn’t see the mistakes. All she sees is love.

I search the pattern books.

“What are you doing, Mum?”

“I’m trying to decide what to knit next,” I reply.

“I thought you were never going to knit anything ever again.”

I remember the look of delight on Sophie's face when she saw her new purple jumper. 

"I've changed my mind," I say. Some things are worth any amount of work and frustration. 

And if I don't achieve perfection does that really matter? Knitting mistakes... mothering mistakes... love transforms everything.

Post a Comment

  1. It's a lovely hoodie, Sue. I can't see any mistakes, in the photo - no wonder Sophie was so pleased!

    Children really do know how to love unconditionally - isn't it just the most wonderful thing about being a mother?

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Vicky,

      Maybe the knitting mistakes are only visible to me. I know where to look for them! That's a bit like all our failures. They seem so large to us, while no one else really notices them.

      Sophie was pleased with the design. The jumper is very warm as I made it with pure wool and it has the hood. I like the long rib sections on the sleeves. I told Sophie not to put anything heavy in the pocket, just in case my stitching doesn't hold up!

      Yes, there is nothing like being a mother and receiving a child's love. It makes all the difficulties so worthwhile.

      God bless you too!

  2. Can I just say from everything I've read on this blog, it sounds like you have raised some *wonderful* children!!

    1. Angela,

      Thank you! We all have wonderful children. Not perfect because none of us are, but nevertheless wonderful. Children are a real blessing, and they survive despite our mistakes. I'm sure children don't need perfect parents. What they need is love. It is interesting talking to my young adult children. They had the inexperienced mother. They must remember the bad days, but these don't seem important to them. They always mention the good times and how much I love them.

      I really appreciate your encouraging words, Angela. Thank you for your comment!

  3. I so often feel a failure at this mothering bit! But I wouldn't trade the job for anything! In fact...I wish I had a half dozen more, I'm sad that my youngest is already 12...

    1. Karla,

      I feel just like you! Yes, some days are difficult. Even after all these years as a parent, I still worry I'm not mothering my children adequately: Am I helping the older ones make the right decisions? Did I give them the foundation they need to go out there into the world? Do I spoil my youngest? Should I have started teaching my teenager to drive long ago? Should I have done this... ? Should I be doing that...? Despite everything, I wouldn't trade my job for anything either.

      It won't be that long before my youngest is 12. Four years can pass so quickly. It takes a lot of adjustment when the youngest child is no longer small, when we know our baby days, and then our toddler days, and then our little children days are over. But older children are equally delightful, and we can share in different ways. I just love shopping with my teenage girls or having coffee with my young adult sons...and chatting to them all on an adult level. Karla, are there special things you like to do with your children, things you couldn't do when they were younger?

      Thank you for your comment!

  4. You knit beautifully! Although there may be some mistakes, so what? She loves it and from the pictures you did a great job. I hope you keep at it. I love to knit and can't wait to get back to it this fall and winter. Doesn't that sound funny as you are headed to spring and summer?:) I have had a lot of mothering mistakes lately, but I know I was made for this vocation. Overall, I love it even with all the hard times.

    1. Grace,

      It's been a learning experience accepting mistakes. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Yes, Sophie loves her jumper despite me not being entirely happy with my knitting. That's all that really matters.

      The difference in seasons, seems strange to me too. I bet you are looking forward to having some cooler weather after your very hot temperatures. I always think that I should knit over the summer so that I am prepared with new garments when winter arrives. But somehow summer never seems the right time for knitting.

      Maybe we love mothering even more because of the hard times. It's those times that teach us so much about what's important, and we come to have a real appreciation for our children and our vocation because of the struggles.

      God bless!

  5. Hi SUe,

    Your purple jumper looks gorgeous! Often, we are, are worst critics!

    1. Noreen,

      Thank you! I love the design and so does Sophie. The hood really finished the jumper off. Yes, sometimes no one notices our mistakes until we point them out.

      Thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment!


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