On Sunday, between sweating inside of a bee suit, and tearing apart my vegetable garden, I put on a pretty dress and went to a very nice garden party.
I brought along two sweaters, that I had knit as gifts for the twin boys of my friends Star and Nick.
Somehow, in the process of making these two garments, I failed to weave in an end of yarn, and left it hanging. This was remarked upon by all of my sharp-eyed knitting friends.
That one loose thread ruined any happiness I might have had in those little sweaters. Any joy or pride was crushed.
It's not that I have cruel friends. Far from it. They said nice things about the two sweaters. But all I heard was the criticism.
I grew up in a very unhappy family. My mother was violently abusive, and my parents lost no opportunity to let me know that they considered me an utter failure, someone who would never amount to anything. I was a shy, clumsy child, and my family took never failed to miss an opportunity to taunt me for my failings. To this day, I hear their voices in my head.
And let me tell you, those voices were loud in their critique of my knitting, yesterday. They sucked every bit of joy out of that project, and filled me with shame.
To this day, I don't understand how adults could use their power over their own children this way. A healthy family might find ways to praise of encourage their children. But not mine. This poisons so much of my life, even all these years later.