You know, earlier this year, when I turned 50, I wondered if this was going to be the year I finally learned a lesson or two. (This is a separate wish than the sort I make every night, when I go to bed swearing that in the morning when I wake up it will be the start of a whole new me. The sort of me that finally cleans closets and streamlines her life and never, ever opens the fridge and thinks holy crap what is that smell, or the sort of me who always has a salad for lunch. I like to think that’s normal – as is my inability to wake up as that other person (she says, munching peanut butter toast, again.) I speak here of my failure to learn what I’ve come to think of as The French Lesson.
It’s possible I’ve told you this before, because it’s something I still struggle with (despite it being a really powerful lesson.) When I was in grade nine, the first year with classes in different rooms of the school – something came over me, and I skipped French. I just didn’t go. Looking back I can’t even remember what I did instead of going to french, although at the time it all seemed important. It probably involved the boy next door. I was pretty deeply in love with him and everything he said seemed right. Anyway, love and complications aside, I skipped the class, and it was the first time I’d ever done it, and I knew instantly that it was the wrong thing. I felt horrible, and guilty, and that feeling stuck. I had no idea how I was going to face the teacher after doing that, and so… I skipped the next class too.
Now the problem was huge. I’d skipped two french classes. Two in a row. That was just too horrible to face, and so I skipped a third one while I tried to figure some elegant way out. You see where this is going. The whole thing, and this is still just unbelievable to me, even though I was really, really young and stupid, the whole thing culminated in my mum going to the end of term parent-teacher interviews, and the teacher had no idea who I was. I still remember my mum asking me not just why the hell I’d skipped an entire term of french, but why on earth hadn’t I told her before she walked into the interview. She was going to find out – in mere moments. I could have come clean, taken a minute and been all “Hey, mum. I kinda screwed up here, you’re going to find out in 39 seconds what I’ve done, so I might as well not make it worse.” Instead, I let her walk in there and knowing it was certainly all blowing up just a few metres away from me, I sat in the hall thinking “I really could have handled this better.”
Anyway, it’s turned out that some things, some approaches are thematic. They crop up over and over again in your life – and for me, this is a big one. Getting in too deep, and then getting in deeper while I try to get out is one of them, and it turns out that turning 50 didn’t improve it at all… so here I’ve sat for the last while trying to figure out how to write to you when it’s been so long, and it’s not that I don’t have anything to tell you, it’s that I’ve let it go on for so long that now I have too much to tell you. I have to tell you about Spain and the baby blanket and Sam’s wedding shawl and Sam’s wedding and I knit a cowl and had a retreat and I think I might be knitting more tiny things for Christmas and I need to take a million pictures and…. I’d wake up every morning and try to think about the worlds longest blog post to dig out, and then there wouldn’t be time for that post and then… The French Lesson all over again.
Then I woke up this morning and thought “$%*^ it. Maybe I just won’t be perfect. (This is the great message of the French Lesson. I’m still working on it.) So, here goes. Imperfection for the win.
1. I went to Spain with Joe to celebrate his 50th birthday and my 50th birthday. Together we have a century of experience. That seemed like something worth going big for.
2. It was totally worth it, except for the part where I had 9 hours at home before flying off to the November Strung Along Retreat. I had real regrets at 4am when I was back in the airport.
3. That feeling went away pretty fast when I got to the retreat and it was great.
4. I knit a bunch of stuff I haven’t taken pictures of, and I totally finished that baby blanket, and Joe mailed it for me while I was getting on and off planes, and the recipient allegedly loves it, and when I get a snap or two I’ll post about it here. Promise.
5. I’m furiously knitting Sam’s wedding shawl – her “wedding” is on Saturday. I’ve got that in quotes because it’s not really her wedding, because (in a very Sam-like move) the
kid woman already took off to Vegas and got hitched. We’re just celebrating on Saturday because if you’re going to freakin’ elope, then you have to throw you family some kind of bone.
6. I think I’m going to make it. I have one row left to go and then a rather ridiculous bind off, but it still seems doable as long as I don’t buy a new dress, get my hair done or clean the house.
7. Luckily, I don’t care much about any of those things.
8. There’s a chance Sam comes by her temperament honestly.
9. I am thinking about knitting 25 tiny things before December 1st. I have three.
How are you?