Four and a half inches.
It’s a measly distance. The length of a postcard. The width of your hand, maybe. C’mon, it’s not even half a foot. Newborn’s heads are bigger. I’ve eaten bigger cookies, for crying out loud.
But let’s, for example, say that I am a slug trying to cross that four and a half inches. One of those tiny brown ants that seem to invade our bathrooms every spring. A very industrious aphid. Then, four and a half inches becomes the Boston Marathon. And really, I am crossing this vast distance 1/4 of an inch at a time, given the length of my itsy-bitsy size 4 needles. That’s a whole lot of very, very long (400+ stitches, remember) tiny rows. I’m exhausted just pondering it.
Which is why I’ve decided knitting is like parenting. Now, I’m in awe of the person (I’ve yet to find a citation) who said “parenting is like being pecked to death by chickens,” and I’ve endured some lacework patterns that come close, but that’s not the metaphor I’m going for here (stay with me, I’ll get there, I promise…).
I’ve seen a drawing of this scarf, I know the basic concept, but I hadn’t yet run across a photo until this one (credit to greatyarns.com). I had an instantaneous, dual reaction:
#1: wow, it’s gorgeous
#2: oh, my, the second part is even bigger than the first part.
Whereupon I immediately rushed to my directions in the vain hopes that they would tell me to switch to larger needles for the larger part. No dice. This little slug’s going to have to slug her way through a grand total of 10 1/2 inches in teeny tiny million-stitch rows. Which led straight to reaction #3:
I’ll never make it.
Somewhere, I figure around inch 8, it’ll be like the infamous “wall” runners hit around mile 17 of the Boston Marathon (not that I’d know or anything). Exhaustion declares your doom, and you believe it.
Hey, um, Allie? You said you were going to get to the point soon.
Yes, well, here’s my point. Parenting looks just like that. You hold your newborn, you look at your friend with the teenage son on his sixth earring and his fourth hair color, and you think…”I’ll never make it. I can’t handle that.”
Well of course you can’t handle that. God gives us over a dozen years to work up to the high-octane parenting of teenagers. You gotta learn the ropes one year at a time.
One row at a time. So you don’t fret about the whole thing, you just fret about the next row. Maybe just even the next stitch (believe me, there are days where in parenting you’re just trying to make it to your next meal).
I’m the mother of two teenagers. School’s out tomorrow. 10 1/2 inches of teeny tiny stitches?
Bring it on.