Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Big Project

Today I finished hat number 7. This year I am making one hat per month, so that in December, I can contribute to the men's shelter at First United Church in East Vancouver.

Now, I like to knit for babies. I put blessings into each stitch and visualize them squirming and crawling in the little sweaters and blankets I knit. Every one of the cousins gets a knit gift. My hairdresser got a blanket last year. I am passionate about babies, and I used to word as a pediatric nurse.
But I get angry about old, alcoholic men who make bad choices and drag down all those around them. Why? My father was an alcoholic and left my mother before I was born. I was the fourth girl, and he left a few times after I was born. When I was three, she packed us up from Ontario and we took a train ride to B.C. where his sister reluctantly helped us out. It was her husband who offered us sanctuary, but he died when I was about eight.
I did meet my father when I was 10. He was tall and charismatic and played jazz piano like an angel. He was also loud and impatient and still drank. He had married my mother's best friend and they had a daughter. Shaun. She was at my 10th birthday. She'd probably be 40 now. I hope she is strong and smart and funny, like she was then.

We kind of got on with out lives. Successes and marriages and children.

But last year, our biological father died in a home in East Van. The most poverty stricken area in North America. A contrast to our idyllic rural beauty in the valley, an hour away. I didn't know he was in the last stage of liver failure and in a wheelchair for years. I didn't know he was alive. I always hoped he'd dry up and clean up and wonder who I was.

So this year I am knitting my blessings into warm hats for other regretful men. Will it help? It makes me think about it. It makes me wonder about their families.
We were already involved with making donations to the mission there, but I felt it was too impersonal. I wanted to do something a bit more. I'll keep knitting.
Hopefully I can knit together my uncertainty.

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