Tears soaked Momma’s hand-knit dishcloth. With a slow and deliberate inhale, its soft shade of pale yellow and pink deepened as I buried my face in it and wept. I grabbed it to wipe the flour off the kitchen table but couldn’t bring myself to use it for anything other than catching my tears.
Oh, Momma. What I wouldn’t give for a hug from you right now. To share a cup of coffee with you. To hear you say, “I love you, Baby.”
Covid-19, a global pandemic, separates my husband and I from both sets of our aging parents and its toll hit especially hard today. Through the dish cloth’s tight knit fibers, the smell of old yarn lingers. With one more inhale, I recognize the smell of home; the smell of Momma.
A woman of many talents, sitting still to Momma always meant something was in her hands. Growing up, I’d watch her put a piece of chewing gum in her mouth and roll one corner of the wrapper diagonally toward the other for hours at a time. I’d watch her talk on the phone to someone and end up with a work of art left of her note pad. As she got older, in Spring, Summer, and Fall, her garden is where her hands worked their magic. Even the bitter cold of Winter can't still them as she sits covered in her chair by a cozy blanket doing needle work, embroidery, quilting, etc. Her most recently acquired skill was knitting.
“Look what I made! I’ll teach you, Baby. It’s really easy.”
She was so proud of herself when she told me all about her new talent. I called Momma the other day to check on her and Daddy.
“We’re okay, baby. Don’t worry about us. We’re going to be okay.”
It has been nearly four weeks since I’ve seen either of them as the entire nations is on lock-down. “Social distance”, “shelter in place”, “self-quarantine,” “stay at home,” they say as a deadly virus sweeps through the globe. It’s getting dangerously close to home.
“Yes, Mom,” I said. “You’re right. Everything’s going to be okay.”
I know the source of Momma’s assurance well. It’s something I am eternally proud to say my parents and I share. I also know it goes far deeper than what her physical eyes can see. From deep within her soul, Momma’s vision rises heavenward on wings like eagles soaring above the virus case numbers, the deaths and the fear that fills news program on every station.
Tonight, I hold the wash cloth my mother knit for me and I wonder, could this be the last physical connection I’ll have to my mom? She’s in a vulnerable population in both age and pre-existing conditions. I’m not supposed to visit her. Staying home is supposed to protect her but I must say, on days like these, it can feel like it’s doing more harm than good. Feelings tell me that instead of the truth because the truth is, if this virus were to affect Momma, it could be lethal. Though her spirit is in excellent shape, her lungs aren’t.
We don’t always know in life when ordinary turns extraordinary. When a hug can turn into the last one. I don’t know if that’s the case with my beloved parents and I pray to God it is not, but I do wonder and right now that thought cuts real deep.
I think there’s something very special about knitting. The Bible uses that word to illustrate what happens between a mother and her child.
"You were knit together in your mother’s womb.”
Our Father God knit us and miraculously connected to our precious mothers. We were knit.
Maybe that’s why Momma loves knitting so much.
Until I hold her again in my arms, I will hold to what she knit for me and I will remember that whether here on this earth or in the one soon to come; purchased with the blood of our shared Savior, I will hug Momma once more.