Silicon Valley Women was presenting a talk tonight: it was to be given by my friend Nina of the shawl named after her. No way was I going to miss it.
Phyllis (of that story too) did the driving.
I was sure I was going to be the odd person out in the audience, though, out of a group like that; between my kids and then the limitations of illness, I never did step into the full-time other career I once thought I’d be well into by this point. I tucked a copy of my book (ie, a reach for a visible sign of success) in my knitting bag along with–hold on, I needed a mindless project to work on, what to grab, what to grab, okay, that one. Hand-dyed silk.
We arrived, Phyl and I took our seats, I cast on.
Nina spoke awhile and then went around the room, asking each person to talk a little about themselves, what they were doing, what they were hoping towards, coaching them on how to get there.
I knitted away.
I hoped the others didn’t mind the distraction. I thought again how I once thought I would never stay home with my children–till I had children. I once thought I’d be well into the next role of the working wife by now, certainly, till lupus etc got in the way. As the old joke goes, the way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans.
In my case, He handed me yarn for the punch line.
I was not expecting to hear my younger self: a few younger women talked about how hard it was to put their old work world aside to stay home with their kids now while their little ones needed them so much. I knew that my choices and experiences of years ago offered validation for their current ones. This is not to argue working/nonworking, rather simply to affirm yet again that we are all in this life thing together.
Now it was my turn. Nina bragged on me. Bragged on my book, told them how it had come to do so well, what I had done right, and how cool it felt that her shawl was in it. She held me up as an example of doing what you love and the good will follow.
That praise in that place coming from someone who has lived the successful Silicon Valley executive life, who did the working-mom thing, who went back for a new degree mid-career like I never stayed well long enough to do–someone whose path has been so different from mine, but who is also my friend–that meant more to me than I expected.
Thank you, Nina.
I said that every mother of small children needs something that Stays Done. Another middle-aged woman in the room thought a moment and then laughed that yes, that’s true!
And at the end everybody wanted to see the book, one woman was going oh cool at learning that lace could be knitted as well as crocheted and another pointed out that the pattern (and to a lesser degree the colors) I’d been working on that whole time…
…matched the shawl on the cover of the book.
I did a doubletake.
I had not noticed at all.
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