When you’ve never known grandparents – or aunts or uncles or cousins, for that matter – you have no model for your own grandparenting. Mine were all left behind when my family migrated to the other side of the world. Sure, you can observe other people’s grandparents but in my case that usually led to envy rather than anything helpful.
I longed to have ‘proper rellies’ when I was growing up, just like my friends had. The only memories I have of a Grandpa are of a kindly man lifting me out of the Belfast coal cellar where I had apparently been ‘exploring’. Funny how years later, the smell of coal still takes me back to my 3-year-old self clambering through the cellar. (This is not a cue for the violins to start – my Father God from time to time has provided some substitute rellies.)
When ‘Grand’ status is conferred upon you it opens up a whole new world of opportunity. Suddenly you are the go-to person, with great knowledge about all kinds of things: Bugs, computers, cats, food, books, sewing, food, drawing, stories, crafty stuff. (And did I mention food?) It’s lovely, even if all my Grandies live far away.
Expert Grandma’s Knitting Hat
Recently I was wearing my Expert Grandma’s Knitting Hat. A lovely, slow day was ahead and Grandie No. 1 and I sat at the table practising some finer points of knitting. The basics had been mastered and today’s project was a bit more ambitious: a jumper with a picture of a lion on the front. It was to be made in one piece, in the round and without seams. But before getting to the graph pattern for the lion, there was quite a bit of plain knitting to do. About 20 centimetres of it.
‘Grandma, this is boring. When can I do the lion?’
‘Keep going, nearly there. See how you’re improving though. It is getting more even and smoother all the time. Anyway, you want the lion in the right place, don’t you?’
‘Groan …’ But we continued knitting and chatting until we got to the exciting bit and started on the graph for the beautiful lion.
Ain’t that just like a Christian’s life?
There’s lots of ploddy plain knitting. We read the bible and pray. We practise our faith and go about our daily routine and sometimes it can all seem a bit ‘ho-hum’. But the plain stuff is the foundation. Really, we are just getting ready for the exciting bits, the lion pattern in the right place.
It might be a long-awaited answer to prayer. A conversation with a seeker wanting to know more about Jesus. A sermon that speaks directly to the heart. A glorious sunset at the end of a long and trying day.
For a musician it can be the sudden coming together of a piece after lonely hours of practice. For an artist it can be the canvas coming to life after days of drafting and erasing and honing skills. (Or for this writer, the sudden falling of the words onto the page after days of interrupted thinking and scribbling.)
I guess we need that ploddy stuff, the plain knitting, round and round and round, so that we can enjoy and marvel at the glory when it arrives.
Sheelagh Wegman, BA, IPEd Accredited Editor is a freelance editor and production editor for the Tasmanian Anglican magazine. She enjoys writing, cooking, sings in the choir of St David’s Cathedral in Hobart and lives in natural bushland on the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
Sheelagh Wegman’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sheelagh-wegman.html