Sometimes passions are handed down explicitly, like a mother teaching her son or daughter to sew, scrapbook, paint, read, or play the piano. Technique is detailed, demonstrated, and practiced. Other times it seems like it just catches. Like when my niece exclaims, “I love to run!” at the playground, during the months that her mother trains for the marathon she completed this past weekend (congrats, Megan!).
Either way, there is something transcendent about sharing a pursuit or a pastime with someone you love. Common quests can serve as conduits to a deep understanding of another person’s motivations, struggles, and pleasures, or create mutually edifying competition (i.e. training beyond the call of duty for a triathlon just to avoid your 50-year-old mother from crossing the finish line first/her celebratory screams as she passes me on her souped-up bicycle). More poignant, they offer a connection to people who are more or less inaccessible. This is true with my cousin who is an even more avid knitter than me, but who lives 500 miles north of KC. We can’t get together on Saturdays and knit, but we can comment on each other’s blogs (Draw Four Designs) and collect a basket full of projects to show one another at family reunions.
Even more distant is my Grandma Jeanne, who passed away when I was fourteen. I often cover up in the blanket she crocheted me while I spend afternoons in my knitting chair with her old knitting needles. I think of her and attempt to “catch” whatever lingers of her motivations, struggles, and pleasures.