My mother, Frances Dixon, died a year ago yesterday. She was a very special person, which is what everyone says about their mother. But she really was special.
You see, she had polio when she was 22. And pregnant. My brother was born and went home about six months before she did. And after he was born, there were 4 more. A total of six kids, borne to a woman who did not understand the meaning of the word "handicapped."
She taught us that life was to be lived to its fullest. In spite of the polio, she went canoing, bicycling, camping, and motorcycle riding with my dad. She traveled from Michigan to Oklahoma and back in a side car one year. Another time, she and Dad took the motorcycle from Michigan to Nova Scotia and back again.
My mother taught me to love reading. She read avidly, and her example taught me to likewise love books. There are pictures of her with a book in hand, sitting at some rest stop. Everyone else was off stretching their legs. Mom was reading. Some of my happiest memories are of those times when we shared our opinions of various authors and books.
Another thing my mom taught me was to knit. She knit things for her children, her husband, and her grandchildren. This woman was even brave enough to start aran sweaters for children who were prone to growing rapidly. Go figure, eh?
This is a sweater my mother made for me years ago. I can't quite wear it any more, but I still keep it. Some things you just have to hold on to, ya know?
And there, on with the sweater, you see the book by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End. Stephanie is also known as the Yarn Harlot. Last night was the book launch at the Textile Museum in Toronto, Ontario. We went. What better way to celebrate my mother's life than by spending it with someone who, like my mother loves to knit.