“Robin, where are you?” my mother calls from the next room.
“I’m trying to photograph the new cat.”
“Get over here and tell me what you think about this color,” she says. We are at Wonderful Things, an exciting yarn, hand-crafted gift and craft supplies shop in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She is picking out yarn to make a blanket for my friend Barb. That’s how she shows that she cares: she knits and crochets things for people.
My drawers are filled with her sweaters and vests. Wool throws are draped over chairs in each room of my house. As we grew up my sisters and I didn’t hear, “I love you” very often. Hence I don’t say it much myself. Does it mean more if you say it less? Does it mean less if you say it more? But we were the best-dressed students at PS94 and we knew we were loved.
Writers always demand, “Show, don’t tell.” There are many ways to show love. My friend Celia cooks magnificent meals for the ones she loves. My friend Liz fixes things. My father’s love currency was money; he took those he cared for out to the best restaurants and on expensive vacations. He often slipped his daughters much-appreciated big bills.
I give my time. It is the most precious thing to me and I gift it out with care. Sometimes just showing up and helping out is the right gift. Other times I will spend hours photo-shopping a carefully thought out picture I know will make my loved one smile. Planning a present and thinking of the special person who will receive it distracts me from my grief and loss.
“Barb has peach-colored walls and she likes olive green,” my mother says. “And the yarn should be wool to keep her warm in the winter.” This is the third friend of mine my mother is knitting a blanket for. It makes me feel lucky and loved. Like a cat in a yarn store.