It was nine days before Christmas when Younger Boy suddenly announced that he wanted to gift a special friend with a crocheted hat. It seemed like a great idea, if only he already knew how to crochet.
I don’t know if he was being extremely dedicated to his friend or just too naive to think that this idea had many potential challenges, time restrictions, and an impending short trip to Manila being among the ones off the top of my head. I don’t know if my eyeroll was visible and if he read my intended message of how incredulous this was in my single-word reply, “Now?!!” What I do know is that once he gets hooked on a concept, there’s no shooing the bee out of the bonnet.
Luckily we had some yarn and a hook already lying around the house, and so he threw it into his backpack and we made our way down the mountain. Even more luckily, he is of a generation that was raised on YouTube university and soon upon arrival, he was merrily on his way to creating his gift.
But as any experienced crafter knows, you have to have the right material for the right project. The hook and yarn size were not the best match, and the yarn wasn’t the best choice for his chosen pattern.
And so despite my fear of sailing into a shopping mall during the Christmas season, I found myself accompanying him in search of the best thread for his needs. A store we had ordered from in the past was closed, another that we found online had very limited stock after closing shop due to the pandemic, and now the only recourse was to go in search of a brick-and-mortar shop.
When the third option struck out, I wearily asked Younger Boy to simply reconsider his gift idea. It was late, we were headed back on the highway in two days and I didn’t want to spend my last day hunting down other stores. Just as he agreed that it could be easier if he abandoned the idea, we stepped out of the store, what should we spot but a group of three friends, one of them wearing the exact pattern that he was going for. “That’s a sign!” he exclaimed, for why else, he wondered aloud, would we see someone wearing a warm hat in Manila in a particular design (down to the stripes and color combo) just as we said there may not be a solution.
If there is one other thing I know about Younger Boy, it’s that he listens to signs from the universe, and here was what he was convinced was his signal not to give up. It may have been a small project but it buoyed his flagging spirits. And I, ever the parent on whose shoulders fall the job of finding alternative solutions, had to go along. Surely there may be a way to do this?
Sitting down to rest my feet and pick up a snack, I checked my phone for the first time since we left home. A message and an apology came from the first store that we reached out to. Yes they were closed for the day but they could handle an online order and pick up, and could we still wait one day for them to prepare the order? It was exactly the time we still had in Manila, and so the schedule worked out really well.
The new yarn and the correct hooks finally arrived. He got busy working on a second, “more correct” hat. I began a project myself, and everyone was surprised that even my mom got in on things with a hook and cake of yarn to herself.
As we sat quietly in the living room, each engrossed in our own stitching and counting, Younger Boy still referring to YouTube videos for occasional guidance, me with my online pattern for a floppy basket, and my mom doing random combinations for an open-ended project, I had to be inwardly thankful for The Boy’s stubbornness. Sometimes you only get what you want when you refuse to give up.
Sometimes getting what you want will not be a straightforward route.
Sometimes you have to push out of your comfort zone and the reward is more meaningful.
Sometimes you lose count as you’re working and you have to unravel what you’ve done to correct your mistakes.
Sometimes you think you have to settle, but just a little extra work will enable you to produce something superior.
Sometimes you don’t expect to enjoy an activity you didn’t plan for yourself.
Sometimes your children need you and sometimes they don’t, but you keep yourself ready for when they do.
Sometimes you invite your elders to participate in your life even when you think you’re too old to need them.
Sometimes the hat to be given as a gift or the basket or the I-don’t-know-what-I’m-making project is just the bonus. Because sometimes the real output of a crafting activity is being reminded that sometimes, at Christmas or any other time of year, the younger generation has more to teach the older than the other way around.