Sunday October 30th 2011, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

(Parker and his cousin four months younger.)

My daughter Sam, as a young teenager about fifteen years ago, (come to think of it, back before I had Crohn’s too) asked me if, if I had the chance, would I choose to cure my lupus, or ask for my hearing back?

That was an easy one–she was surprised when I instantly said, My hearing back. The lupus is just background noise. The hearing loss isolates me more from other people.

It was about a year ago that I was sitting in Relief Society at church, the women’s meeting, when the teacher announced we were going to break up into small groups to discuss the topic of the moment.

Groan. The acoustics in that room are bad to begin with, and scenarios like that totally make me want to bail: all I can do, usually, is sit and watch other people having engaging, interesting conversations, getting to know each other better amidst the blare of what to me is just loud white noise.

I got put in a group with Jennifer. I didn’t know her from Adam; she had just moved here. But she has a nice, deep voice, easier for me to *hear, and she was totally understanding about the whole thing as soon as she knew. I remember saying to her, I don’t know you yet but I want to.

The grateful smile on her face made me remember what it’s like to move to a strange town and not know anybody.

I too felt instantly like I was in the presence of a friend, and, by how she handled things, she changed my longstanding attitude towards those small group scenarios–and frankly, I’d needed that. That inner poor-little-me pop-up gets old, fast.

I’ve wanted for a long time to figure out just the most right thing…

She likes purple. I couldn’t figure out what the perfect purple would be to the eyes of someone whose ancestors most assuredly didn’t (or surely didn’t mostly) come from Scandinavia and the British Isles like mine did. I guessed, but just couldn’t get past that sense of uncertainty; I wanted it to be perfect. And I wanted to actually get around to it and get it done, whatever the it might come to be, but nothing… what I could find just didn’t grab me.

Remember that mink/cashmere yarn I recently discovered? Laceweight, one strand of white, one the very softest beige, knitted together for a heathered effect: after I saw the beige, advertised as cream, I ordered the white specifically to put them together like that specifically for her–I finally had my answer. I used two balls and I used them all up down to the last couple of yards and they were perfect.

And then I waited all week long for the moment to come.

But then this morning, searching the crowd before the main meeting started, I didn’t see her. After all that work and all that happy anticipation? No Jennifer? (Earth to Alison: just because you knew and came early doesn’t mean she knew or did.)

But then, at Relief Society, there she was at the back. Yay!

After the meeting was over, I pulled her away from the crowd; I didn’t want to make anyone else feel left out or hurt in any way, ever. And I said to her: “Do you like–” (shifty eyes) –“weasels?”

That was such an utter disconnect that she had no words to respond with.

I repeated it.

Okay, now she threw back her head, laughing: “I’ve never met any weasels.”

I explained about the bad translation describing weasel wool, and that no, I didn’t buy from those guys. I said it was sheared–I watched her face–mink: 70%, and cashmere, 30%, as I pulled the ruffly lace scarf out of my knitting bag. Her eyes got huge with disbelief.

Kim had stepped aside by us as if to talk to Jennifer next, and told her that I’d knit her a scarf too. Jennifer held that supreme softness against her face, just speechless. She put it on, then held the edge out to see the lace pattern.

That’s it. That’s all I need. Any time I might ever again need to prod myself  to go spend the hours knitting to make someone else happy rather than wasting my time doing something of zero impact in this life, I will have that moment to remember to push me forward to do that which brings joy into this world. Thank you, Jennifer; you made it easier for the next time.



*Consonants are much higher pitched than vowels. By far the majority of people with hearing loss lose the highest frequencies first, then gradually lower and lower ones, and so, they can hear someone talking–the music of a speaker’s voice, is how I think of it–but they can’t figure out what they’re saying. They accuse others of mumbling, but it’s their own ears  that are. That last sentence would be, a uh-oo uh-eh uh uh uh uh i eh o ee ah aw. And if I can see your face and know the context of the conversation, with my hearing aids in in good lighting I can usually follow that.

I felt like I’d rejoined the human race when I got my first pair at 27.

8 Comments so far
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You did good, you weasel, you did good.

You know we all love you, don’t you? Even if we have never met or only met once?

Comment by afton 10.31.11 @ 3:20 am

Hooray!! I had a feeling it was just right. You listen to your heart too well for it to be otherwise.

Comment by Channon 10.31.11 @ 6:59 am

YOu and I could talk easily – I have a very deep voice, so much so that I was always mistaken for my older brother, and now, close to 50, I get mistaken for my husband or father in law. Always. No one ever thinks it’s me, even those that have known me forever. We’re talking about the only girl in the bass section of the choir in middle school. (there wasn’t even a girl in the tenor section!)

Comment by Sandra 10.31.11 @ 8:14 am

I always wondered what my low, monotone voice was good for–thanks for enlightening me.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 10.31.11 @ 8:17 am

I know what you mean by ‘zero impact’. That’s why I like to hear people laugh.

It’s a good thing I no longer have the pitch of my young adult voice — high pitched. At work when on the phone, I got sick and tired of people saying, “Yes, ma’am” that I went for speech therapy to get the pitch down. There is a funny story that goes with that, but too long for here.

Comment by Don Meyer 10.31.11 @ 9:04 am

weasel yarn rules the day — and what a great reward!


Comment by Bev 10.31.11 @ 9:24 am

anything with such love in it is a perfect gift, n matter the color!
I get the islation. on our last for what we want in our next home is easy access to gathering places for me in the chair. :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 11.01.11 @ 9:38 am

Ah, yes. My son had the consonant problem for years, but it improved significantly with tube surgery. He’s also a pretty amazing lip reader!

Comment by Momo Fali 11.04.11 @ 7:54 pm

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