navajo me

After watching this video I started digging through all of our old blankets just in case someone slipped in a Navajo blanket when I wasn’t looking.

They hadn’t.

I do have some blankets with dubious stains on them from the kids growing up. My son would assure you that anything with his spit, pee, or vomit on it should be worth millions.

It isn’t.

I am not sure what drugs I was taking when I packed them up and moved them from Canada to Australia. Maybe it was part of letting go of things in stages. Or maybe I just recognized it would probably be the only thing I would see of my some of my kids from that day forward and hoped it could comfort me in my old age.

It doesn’t.

My hubby pretty much summed up the opinion of the uneducated millions when he came upon me dumpster diving into my own preciously packed “these are precious handle with care” packing boxes. He looked at me, he looked at all the mangled blankets and asked, “What is all this garbage?”

I banned him from the staging area. The fact he had to go to golf anyway does not take away from the authority I asserted when I banned him and the vehicle from the garage so that I could attend this very delicate hunt for antiques that would net me a fortune AND a viral You Tube video.

I found the blanket I knitted when I was expecting my first child. My sister in law and I decided it was the thing to do, seeing as we were both pregnant. We knitted as we ate and threw up and watched TV. You don’t really bond with someone until you have knitted and thrown up with them, let me tell you. We were obsessed with finishing our blankets in time for the blessed arrival. And no, we were not doing drugs at the time, we were just two really sheltered farm girls who were lucky we did not get our asses kicked the first time we used the girls washroom in the big city. I think I knitted sometimes when I was sleeping. We had no pattern, the plan was to knit the crap out of the wool we had and end up with a big square that would be a baby blanket and our child would forever treasure and keep in their trunk and cry over in their older years when they pulled it out and remembered their Disney like childhood and their wonderful giving mother.

That didn’t happen either.

Clearly . . . I am the one with the blanket. I think my daughter kicked it off her the first time I put it over her and gave me a look like, “are you freaking kidding me? What if someone sees me covered with that thing? I want the princess blanket!” Some kids are born with a gifted ability to have a whole conversation with you without ever moving their mouth or speaking words. Those conversations are almost always pretty brutal. I still have scars.

I pulled the blanket out of the tissue paper I had wrapped it in and held it up and wondered if my high school math teacher would be impressed that I finally mastered the whole quadrilateral thing. It was like someone had encouraged Picasso to knit, except the only paint in the knitting box was a kind of dulled pink ( the only pink wool the grocery store carried) and he clearly knitted it in his early years before he had developed any real . . . talent. I tried to contact my math teacher.

He still has me blocked.

I have lots of blankets and things I inherited from other relatives. Man they must have seen me coming. “Look here comes Aria, go get that old ugly throw Aunt Mabel knit, I want to make sure she takes it with her this time. Last time she was here and I gave it to her it ‘accidentally’ got kicked under the fridge.” I was the Goodwill store for the family, except without the nice warm fuzzy feelings people have when they donate, thinking they are doing something nice for someone else. I may have even got the stuff that a Goodwill store would not take. It was either that or I was cheaper than wasting gas hauling stuff to the garbage.

I thought life was a treasure back then and I liked to keep everything, neatly sorted, categorized, packed, cared for. I might have had librarian tendencies, genius savant type of tendencies, except that I was never able to pull my hair back tight enough and forget about that whispering crap. In fairness, maybe my family thought the puce and brown and green throw would one day be a masterpiece and they loved me so much they wanted me to have that possibility in my life.

OK that was just me trying to remember what they taught me in Sunday School. My family were never that kind.

I mean I am sure the Navajo did not know they were making priceless treasures when they were doing their blankets. They probably were just sitting around the campfire pregnant, eating, throwing up … and decided they should weave some blankets. If we were bored in the Seventies, in LA, imagine what they were sitting out in the desert without even TV?

Aunt Mabel’s throw is never going to be worth anything. It is so ugly that even I cannot keep making excuses for it. I might keep it to will to my children one day because … well …a tradition is a tradition and perhaps suffering is best served in a big bowl where everyone has to take a little bit on their plate and eat it without complaining, because we are Canadians after all. We are the poster kids for Polite.

I am keeping my mathematical wonder, dull pink, really ugly, unwanted baby blanket. I like to pretend that someday there will be a video about a family who were desperate for help who found it and when they got to the dump and were about to chuck it out, the dump guy, who is big into antiques and who has real integrity, stops them and tells them it might be worth something. And then they go and take it in to someone who says, “this had to be knitted back in the 70’s with a basic wool that was available in grocery stores, probably by a mom for her baby. Look at how beautifully preserved it is, like it was never even used.” And then they research and people ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over how great the knitting is and they wonder about the originality of the shape I created and speculate I was an artist . Then they hunt for more of my signature pieces and find my other afghans where I start out with a pattern, get bored, and then just make it all up. OR, the doilies that are always lopsided and have made up stitches in them . . . all of them looking like they were never used. And lots of people are suddenly rich because they have an ‘Aria Appleford Original.’ And then, my daughter feels really really bad that she did not appreciate me or her blanket and that weeping sound is the sound of my other children wishing they had been nicer to me.

That will go a long way to heal this deep pain in my heart, once I am dead I mean. It’s not a perfect ending, not like the one where I find a Navajo blanket worth millions, I sell it, get rich, and am able to buy new kids blankets, BUT it will do.

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