the unraveling

One of my beloved aunties had down syndrome. She was sweet and had funny stories about her boyfriend, Mickey Lewis (aka, Mick Jagger). She also had many endearing quirks, one of which was that she liked to clean. Whenever she stayed with us, I would come home and find all of my dresser drawers tidied, even my underwear were folded. She also had a made up game of cards she enjoyed, but only she knew the rules and so she played it like solitaire.

What I am thinking about today, though, is how she knit. To me, her work seemed painstaking and precise. She would knit down, down, down until she got to an end or a mistake she understood but that I could not see and then she would pull the yarn, unravel all of her work, and begin anew.

When I was younger, I might have seen this as an exercise in futility, but not so now. In fact, I look to her as I hesitate to pull the thread that will unravel a narrative. I think of how instead of filling me with dread, it should fill me with joy at the possibility of recreating.

Think of it this way: nothing is lost. The muscle memory remains and there is nothing but opportunity to build again what you’ve destroyed.

So I will think of my auntie’s small hands knitting and how no matter how many times she pulled the thread and unraveled her work, whatever she created anew was just as beautiful as what she had created before. I will pull the unraveling thread with a sense of hope.

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