On May 15th, ca. 1994, Katharine Stewart wrote: “Today, drawing back the curtains, I looked out at the morning in disbelief. I thought it was a dream. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. It was reality. There was a white garden out there, a spring garden lying under snow, quietly accepting its fate.” (A Garden in the Hills, p. 69).
I’m happy to say that we do not have snow today! Although only a few weeks ago friends in Aberdeen had a little blizzard. Here in Glasgow, the nights have been staying above freezing. Last night was the first time I let my cosmos and sweet pea seedlings brave the outdoors all night long. Until now, I’ve been bringing them back inside at night, but I’m progressing the “hardening off process”:
Some of my tulips in pots have blown over, but others are still looking lovely. (Note the daisies in the lawn!)
This week is ME Awareness Week, and I have been doing a fundraiser. For a long time, I’d wanted to raise funds for AYME, the Association for Young People with ME, for those with ME age 25 and under. They have been very helpful to our family. For example, when the Dafter was at her absolute lowest, bedbound and so terribly isolated, they matched her with an older teenager, further along in recovery, who wrote to her for a while. That was a huge boost for her.
So I’d wondered what I could do to help them out in return. I’m not sporty, so running a 10K or doing a swimathon was out of the question. I would love to do a long walk such as the West Highland Way, but that sort of project is unthinkable when you’re needed at home 95% of the time. A sponsored silence would have been impossible, given that I am the Dafter’s connection to the outside world in terms of appointments and so forth. And then I hit upon the idea of giving up knitting for ME Awareness Week. So, since 11:45 pm last Saturday night, I have NOT knitted.
What have I done instead? Gardened, some crochet, read old knitting magazines, worked out how to assemble a knitted jacket:
Got my hair cut:
And last night, I sang in a concert:
I knew that giving up knitting would be a challenge, but I had underestimated how very hard it would be to go a week without it! I’ve allowed myself to crochet (and in theory, mend), but crochet is nowhere near as relaxing for me as knitting. I have been far more tired than usual, and all week long have felt as if my shoulders are up around my ears. Normally, I knit for a few hours a day – taking the Dafter to appointments, waiting for her to be ready to leave, keeping her company, and especially unwinding in the evenings. I really cannot WAIT for Sunday morning to be here!
But the whole idea is that I am giving something up, because she has given up so very much, and has had no choice about it. And it’s all been worth it, because my friends have been astonishingly generous. I’ve raised over £500 now! Incredible. Yesterday, via AYME, I received an email from another “ME mother,” whose 10-year-old is bedbound with ME and suffering terribly, both physically and psychologically. Of course I wish I had some magic wand to wave, but at least I can support her and say, You will get there. Brighter days are coming! So I’m very pleased to be able to raise money for this good cause.
The Dafter has had her ups and downs this week. Last Saturday she had a collapse in a shopping centre, and I had to borrow a wheelchair to get her back to the car. That gave us both a bit of a fright, and she really did not enjoy being back in the wheelchair after a year without it. But after this event she was also frightened to go out, for fear of getting stuck somewhere. So she now has a walking stick, and loves it!
When she’s not doing a Cabaret-style performance at the bus stop, it has come in very handy for that bit of extra support to make the last part of the walk home.
She had to defer taking her Art exam until next May, and all her friends are on study leave and taking their exams, so she has been a bit at loose ends. However, I am very proud to tell you that although she is having to do her Art over two years, she has won the Subject Prize in Art and Design for the Senior School, based on the work she was able to complete. So that is a huge boost. And she and I have fun together. Here she is amusing herself while I have a cup of tea in town:
Glasgow is such a friendly city. We went to the bank the other day, as the Dafter wanted to put some money in her account. The lady there said, “Hello there! We haven’t seen you for ages! No wheelchair – that’s great! And – didn’t you used to have glasses?” The Dafter was amazed and replied that most of her friends hadn’t even noticed she’d started wearing contacts. These kinds of friendly encounters, which do happen so often in Glasgow, even with complete strangers, can make the struggle of getting out of the house very worthwhile.
So this week, there’s been no snow, and no knitting. But some happy times.
I wish you a very happy weekend, and in case you missed it, I’m doing a Harris-related giveaway at 8 pm GMT, Monday evening May 18th: click here if you’re reading this before then.