Thirteen

Thirteen years ago, I sat down at an enormous computer in our dining room (we kept it there so we could supervise the kids internet access) with an HTML cheat sheet ( <oldschool>) and sat there for hours trying to figure out how to get a blog post up.  Ken had set the whole thing up as a gift, and I was determined to get the hang of it. It took hours. Hours and hours, and there wasn’t even a picture.

This afternoon, I sat down at a tiny laptop in an airport lounge to write to you for what is the 2337th time (that is the actual number) and it’s taking a long time, but mostly because this day always makes me feel sappy and sentimental and grateful and that’s so much to put into words.  A very great deal has changed over the last 13 years – through all of it, no matter how weird it’s gotten, you’ve been a constant. You know that we call you The Blog. I’ve written about that before – how we’ll say “oh, have you told The Blog” or “What did The Blog say?” or even “I can’t wait to tell The Blog about this.” You are a constant presence in our lives, a large and undefined mass that influences and encourages me and this family. When I started doing this, our children were young, young enough that I decided what their internet presence would be, what i would tell you about them, when I would tell it. I sat down at this computer often with a story or an idea in mind, something that had happened inside our family or our home, and I’d type the whole thing up, and then hover my finger over the “post” button as I re-read it, imagining myself as my child, years down the road, reading their follies laid out. Would they want it there? Would they want it shared with the world? I deleted whole entries some days. Ones that were finished with (incriminating) pictures and opinions and maternal grief or strife. Just typed them up, realized that the fight I had with my teenager – or whatever, that while we all fight with our teenagers and it’s normal and lonely and horrible, but didn’t need to be anywhere near the internet, no matter how ridiculous it had been and then posted something about socks instead.

Back then, I was the final arbiter of how much our family’s face was public, and I hope I got it right. I think I did, because there are still conversations about interacting with The Blog, and what we’ll share with The Blog and nobody’s ever demanded that I take down a post. (Not even when they were completely demented teenagers and demanded just about everything else.) Instead, you all remain welcome in our lives and in our family and one of the most lovely conversations I’ve ever had in my life was when Megan professed that she couldn’t wait for The Blog to find out that she was expecting and I was going to be a grandmother. Now that you’ve been around so long, we all think of The Blog.

All of that has been remarkable, and fantastic, and epic – the part of you that is always here, inside what Joe cheerfully refers to as “The Interknit”, but there is another side to The Blog that I don’t know you all realize. The Blog sometimes happens (as my young friend likes to say) IN REAL LIFE.  It happened this weekend, as I skiied down the bottom of a mountain in Alberta, and heard my name called from behind, and lo- a friendly knitter bore down on me. (Hi Kim!)  It happened last night at a concert in Calgary, when we walked up to someone who worked there, and she was all “Stephanie? Joe?” (Hi Jocelyn!) It has happened in airports, at baseball games, in restaurants, and while it’s occasionally surprising, it’s always amazing.

I hope that you all feel what I do when you come to this page. A sense of camaraderie, of belonging, a sense of community that is reassuring and normalizing, a place where the ethics and values that we hold dear – that making things is important, that creation is human, that love can be contained and transferred in handmade things, that knitting and creating and transforming are important parts of who we are… all those things are vital.  I feel them and I feel like you do and I feel less lonely because you are here. I feel better because you are also IN REAL LIFE, and I love it when the things we do and make ripples outside of our little Interknit.

This last weekend, knitting played a very visible role in the March for Women – and someone said to me that it was amazing to see how important knitters were in it. That the hats they knit were visible – obvious. There weren’t three of them, there were hundreds of thousands of hats and they were in every shot and no matter what your political stripe, I find it hard to believe that any knitter can look at those pictures, with all those hats (it was so many) and not feel a pang of knitterly pride.  It is our community – it is the thing that we all feel, writ large for the world to see. Someone told me that, and then she added “for once” like it was the first time that our community could make a change like that.

I didn’t say anything, because she was having an awesome moment, but I want you to know that I didn’t believe her for a moment that “for once” applied.  She must have not seen what you guys did for Knitters without Borders. She must have not been here to see how amazing that was. She must have not seen what you’ve done for the Bike Rally. Maybe she wasn’t here last year when so many of you donated $12 dollars for my 12th anniversary – a dollar for every year of The Blog.  (If you wanted to go for $13 this year, the link is here. It was loads of fun to watch PWA try to figure out the significance of $12 and I think that $13 is even weirder.) I know that the hat thing was big, and it was amazing, and I was impressed but I want you to know that I’ve known this about you for a long time. You’ve shown it to me so many times over the last 13 years.

You are amazing. You matter. You make a difference in my life, and in the world around you. You are an important person, and you are legion.

Thank you for every moment of the last 13 years. Thank you for the comments you leave, thank you for the mail you send me. Thank you for sending me tiny sock garland, or bitty hats knit for my Christmas tree. Thank you for calling out to me on the ski slopes, thank you for greeting me warmly in a city that’s not my own. Thank you for grieving with our family when things have been bad, and for celebrating with us when things are beautiful. Thanks for bringing me an apple or a beer when I’m on the road. Thank you for knowing who Tupper was. Thank you for wanting to show me who your Tupper was. Thanks for wondering if I’ll ever finish the gansey. Thanks for caring about my kids, for saying hi to them in person when you see them. It connects them with a bigger world that we all need reminding is there.

In short, thank you for everything, and I can’t wait for the next thirteen.

I love you Blog. Happy Blogiversary.