Stitching Moments Together With My Dad
Every once in a while, the urge to crochet washes over me. It usually happens when the temperatures start to dip into the 30s when Christmas is just around the corner.
During a recent visit home, the desire to make something with my hands emerged once again. While my dad flipped through TV channels, I sat on the neighboring couch, grateful to be in his presence.
In the same way that athletes stitch together training sessions, or pianists collect moments of practice to become experts, I held the hook in my hands, stitching time together with my dad.
As my own magic wand wove yarn in and out of the holes, I created a garment and thought about the way I was using single moments to construct something larger. I was building a blanket, knowing that after I stitched together hundreds of seconds in time, I’d have a warmth-collecting device to wrap around my shoulders. And I wanted to continue to find ways to create warmth in the world.
When time slips by
I often worry about the moments I have left with my dad. Time can feel like an unraveling stitch. Instead of moving forward, we might have to go back to fix a split in the yarn.
Dad is doing well, and I have a lot of confidence in his ability to overcome his own split-stitches. He has always been a fighter. But I don’t want to waste what little time I have with him. So, I collect as many moments as I can, hoping that I’ll look back and feel that I did everything I could to create warmth in his life.
I once read about someone who had Parkinson’s disease. Toward the end of their life, they spent much of their time using the TV remote to control what their eyes digested. As their abilities began to wane, they still found comfort in the changing channels. They could still control the remote, so they weren’t entirely devoid of independence.
I know that my paternal grandmother lived the end of her life in a similar way. And my dad now seems perfectly content to wave his magical remote every evening. But I find sadness emerging from my heart as I wonder if this is how he’ll spend his last years. Where is the warmth in the blue glimmering light of the television?
I don’t mean to say that every day has to be remarkable. We often find comfort in the space between moments. And routine offers a kind of homeostasis in itself. But watching the months slip by from behind a screen seems really heartbreaking to me.
Creating more warmth in the world
If I make it a point to interrupt my dad’s TV shows with bouts of laughter, will he be infected by my happiness? If I make sure to pay attention to the moments between places, will I feel the warmth of his presence? And how do I ensure that there’s little wasted time?
I think that warmth comes from shared moments — in the glance between two parties that tells us we’re not alone. And while I sit on the couch with my dad watching the seasons pass, I find comfort in knowing that I’m doing everything I can to bring him happiness.
In “Walk Like a Buddha,” Lodro Rinzler writes: “To love, in the context of Buddhism, is above all to be there. But being there is not an easy thing.” Perhaps being present is enough. Maybe the most beneficial thing we can do is be together, because being with someone is a depiction of love.
So, I continue to stitch moments together with my dad, knowing that one day I’ll have created something greater than I could’ve ever imagined.
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