I know we’re in Socktober, and we’re knitting glorious socks, but I’m thinking about college.
I have a senior. A soon-to-be 18-year-old young woman who will (and Universe-willing) be in college by this time next year. And this month has been a flurry of college applications, financial aid forms, attempting to time college visits, and more than a couple of meltdowns about the confusing process. I’ve had two of the four meltdowns.
This past week, I used our new Sock Kits to cast on the Hele cuff/legs. In the early hours of morning, when all is quiet and I’m in the soothing rhythm of knitting, I think about how we got here. How this young human was knit together in my womb and now, almost fully formed, is ready to walk on her own in the world. I am at once awed and terrified.
Her college essay was about the staircase of life; how each step we take leads us closer to our destination. Sometimes, the steps are worn out. Other times, we trip and fall back a few steps. Many a time, we’re just holding on tight to the handrail for dear life. It’s a great essay! Parenting is like that staircase, too… two steps forward, one step back. Flailing and faltering, gripping tight, and pushing up. Learning, step-by-step, that the fun is in the climbing. In the doing hard things. Even when we trip, the courage to keep trying IS the point.
I’ve tried to teach my kids the same thing I teach my knitting students: I’m so good at fixing things because I’m so good at messing up! Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to mess it up because life has this beautiful way of working out, even when it seems impossible, and when it does, we come out of it changed. Whether we’ve learned a new skill, grown stronger, learned what not to do, discovered a workaround, healed, or found a new level of relaxation or peace, we’re always going to be a different person than we were before we did the hard thing.
Maybe you’re casting on your first pair of socks (and if so, the School of SweetGeorgia has a couple of great sock knitting courses for you). Maybe you’re working the cuff and legs of your 500th pair of socks. Either way, you’ll finish this pair a slightly different knitter or crocheter than you were before you started.
Maybe my kid won’t get into her first-pick college. Maybe we’ll mess up a part of the FAFSA form. Maybe I’ll have to rip and redo my heel flap because I counted wrong (professional designer = professional-messer-upper). Parenting, college applications, senior year… heel flaps on socks… they all have one thing in common: trial and error (well, and maybe “steps.” HAHA!).
And at the end of the process, I’ll be on a higher step than I was before.
So, if you’re knitting along with me, let the upcoming week of heel flaps or short rows, gussets, and shaping be a novel experience taking you a little further on the path.