Friday, April 13, 2012

R2 has left the building

I’ve never been a crafty person. My sister has always been the artist, the interior designer, the girl who looks like a million bucks wearing three dollars worth of clothes and accessories from the thrift store.
When I, on the other hand, purchase clothing at the thrift store…well, let’s just say that it isn’t pretty.
That is not to say that I never try to create art. I’m not bad with pastels; I made some nice still life compositions back in college, and every so often I’ll pull out the old tools to sketch a particularly lovely apple or tomato. I totally get down with Play-Doh, and don’t mind admitting that I can make a mean alligator and a darn cute frog out of anything moldable.
But I’m abysmal with oil paints; those inevitably end in disaster. I have much better luck with acrylics – especially if I can label the end-result “abstract.”
But crafts? Not so much. Evidently, I didn’t get that gene.
My mom is an amazingly talented floral designer; she makes wreaths that make me want to weep. And my sister can create absolutely anything! She’ll buy a table at a garage sale, add some paint or decoupage, and turn it into a family heirloom. Photo spreads of her kids’ rooms should grace the pages of Parenting magazine.
My kids are lucky if I keep the paint off their baseboards and their things “mostly” match.
So imagine everyone’s surprise when I took up crochet.
Truly, it was an accident.
I’m a Star Wars nut, and, happily, so are both my sons. When Waldenbooks was going out of business, I stumbled across “The Star Wars Craft Book.” At 80% off, how could I resist?
Such cute crafts! A Jabba the Hutt body pillow! A tooka doll! Han Solo frozen in carbonite soap!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the holy grail of Star Wars crafts: An R2-D2 beanie. To be more precise, a CROCHETED R2-D2 beanie.
Well, crap, I thought. I have to learn to crochet.
And so I did.
I bought some yarn and a hook and found some enthusiastic “Learn to crochet!” directions online. And I began. My first project turned out to be a handbag; I made it up as I went along, because I couldn’t read patterns. It turned out surprisingly well.
I bought more yarn, and more hooks. I figured out how to read a simple pattern, and made a scarf, a pillow, another scarf, and a hat. Then I declared myself ready to tackle R2.
I wasn’t.
Oh, how I struggled. I made it halfway through when I realized I’d missed whole rows of increases, and R2 was more of a cone than a dome. I ripped it back. I was a third of the way through when I realized I’d miscounted stitches from the start and absolutely everything was misaligned. I ripped it back again. A week later, and after three tries and hundreds (thousands?) of suppressed curses, we had our very own R2-D2 hat.
My 7-year-old beamed with pride while my 4-year-old wailed with envy. (Don’t worry, he got a C3PO hat a week later.) He wore his wooly R2-D2 hat to school on an 80 degree March day, which warmed my heart almost as much as it warmed his sweaty little head.  R2 accompanied him to school, to church, to Grandma’s.
And two weeks later, R2 was gone.
We turned the house and cars upside down while I railed and my son squirmed under the weight of my anger and disappointment. A week of my life! Seven anguished days! And the R2-D2 hat is gone, GONE! Oh, MY PRECIOUS!!!!!
Yes, it was all very dramatic.
The school lost and found, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, was my only hope – but, alas, the Force was not with us.
Well, I told myself, you can make another. Sometime. When you’ve recovered. After all, he’s only seven. He’s going to lose things.
And then I heaved a great sigh.
So imagine my surprise when, tonight, my husband returned home with R2 in hand.
As it turns out, he was at Grandma’s the whole time.
And I’m feeling very, very sheepish about all my railing, anger, and disappointment. If he were a little older or a little more sarcastic, I think my son would ask me if I learned a lesson from all this.
And I’d have to reply, “Yes. Yes, I'm very sorry, and yes, I have.”

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