Though we are probably age-mates, her slender build and chic clothing made her seem much younger than me. And when she accepted the price I named to knit Christmas stockings for her two new daughters-in-law inside the couple of weeks that remained before the holiday, her radiant smile made her look like a delighted little girl. My heart soared.
And then she pulled out the yarn. In the dim shop, I hadn’t even wondered what her set of eight matching stockings were made of—but now she brought from her bag a half-dozen skeins of “Sugar ‘n’ Cream.” Yes, every one of those family heirlooms was worked at a very snug 5.5 stitches to the inch, in unyielding 100% worsted-weight cotton.
My hands ached at the mere sight. But I couldn’t say no.
You see, she believes as I do...no, not in Santa Claus, but...that rings, vows and rituals are mere shadows of the real pledge, the one affianced couples make almost silently, behind the scenes, some length of time before others even hear the first whispers of wedding plans.
Also: that monogrammed, matching stockings hung at the mantel are representations of the invisible, ongoing alchemy that transforms newlyweds into genuine members of the Tribe, true clan-mates.
My hands complained a bit, for just the few hours it took to craft the finished items--but I am honored to think that their work helped craft the tangible markers for that Greater Thing that happens when new spirits join the family circle; when mothers and fathers adopt as full-grown daughters and sons the love-objects of their own offspring. I regard the opportunity to play a role in this shift as a gift in itself, and myself to be on the receiving end of the blessing.