I write to you today from the attic, where I am safely ensconced, away from the five 13- and 14- year olds who have taken over the first and second floors of my house. Maudie and two friends are having a Gilmore Girls Marathon (they're on Season 7, thank God) and Charlie and his friend are in his room, blasting death metal and chugging Monsters. I really like this friend of Charlie's because a) he's smart and funny, b) he can talk to adults, and c) recently he was grounded from drinking any Monster at all for two weeks, a punishment he endured with great aplomb. I guess really I should also like his mother for that one. So I do.
They had to come in, due to the rain, otherwise they'd be skateboarding. The girls would be outside "tanning" in bikinis, telling me not to worry, they're wearing sunscreen. Fair enough. I never really thought of myself as the Mother Hen type, but I do like to have a bunch of kids around, and I'd much rather have them here than elsewhere. I used to fear that I would become "an old hen with one chick", and I guess in some ways I am just that. One chick and one step-chick.
For a few years, I was really having a hard time with this tween to teen transition. I was sad to see them leave grade school, embrace technology, grow as tall and taller than me, get cell phones, and "develop", to use a creepy 70s-style health class term. For some reason, in the last six months or so, it's okay. Which is good, because it's not like I have a choice in the matter.
Also, they both rejected all hand knits during that period, which is probably a good thing in terms of their social lives, and as Heather would say, street cred. Maudie did ask for a slouchy hat last October, but she had Swine Flu at the time, so it may have been the fever talking. Conveniently, her baby sister Esmee is now almost two, and when I gave her this little sweater last month, she literally jumped up and down and immediately put it on. Has anyone every jumped up and down upon receiving a hand-knitted gift from you? It was the first time for me, but I really hope it happens again.
Oh, about the knitting. When my parents were here at Easter, my mom and I spent a lot of time knitting, laughing about knitting and most of all, reminiscing about knitters we have known. In the old days, before the Internet made it possible to befriend other knitters in far-flung locations, your knitting friends were local, i.e., the women you met sitting at the knitting table at your LYS. There was a kind of dance-with-him-what-brung-ya mentality -- find your pal at this table, or go without. Of course, this was hit or miss, but my mom did make many interesting and in some cases lifelong friends this way.
One such friend, Judy, was one of my favorites. She was totally fabulous, with a chic curly bob, pearl chokers and tons of cashmere sweaters. She took a trip to Paris every year with her girlfriends. She was like the cool, funky grandmother everyone wished they had. She was very funny and upfront and would often pull me aside and say things like, "Barbie (my mother's friends still call me that), since it's just us chickens, how do you really feel about living two blocks from your parents?"
Although she's gone now, I have in my possession a sweater she knitted maybe 20 years ago. It's a super-bulky cardigan in a rich grey-plum color with pockets and a belt. I think she made up the pattern as she went along. This garment succeeds in being functional, fashionable and does not, as many bulky knits tend to do, make the wearer look like the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man. Judy also once spent an entire winter knitting a stash-busting striped scarf -- Dr. Who-style. I think the thing is about 10 feet long. That scarf is in my ex-husband's possession.
So, today, it's all good. This summer my chicks both turn 14. I leave you with pictures of them from Tom's and my wedding, almost six years ago.