four great teens - with their permission.
For the past six years I have been keeping an eye on them. They were learning to knit under the watchful eyes of my late friend Margaret. She was teaching them while they were in and out of hospital. She introduced them to each other so that they could each encourage the others.
They all needed to have a creative but quiet and not physically demanding activity. Knitting was perfect for all of them - two boys and two girls. (There is a third boy who is a long term member of the group but he is a year younger.)
When Margaret died suddenly "Margaret's Mob", as they called themselves, were devastated. The mother of one of them turned to me and asked if I would take over helping with the knitting. I did. It turned into something much more. The little group became a study group as well. Two of the fathers did some tutoring. I did some tutoring. They all caught up with and then passed their peers.
On the knitting front they had more encouragement from the late Sue Nelson, technical editor of Knitters' Magazine. She kept sending them yarn and e-mails. When she died the four of them were invited to write one of the eulogies for her funeral - and what they wrote was an amazing piece filled with love and determination.
Over the years there have been some rough patches. We all expected those. This year, year 12, was the toughest of all. There is a seemingly endless grind to year 12 - especially when you are aiming very high. In the middle of it Nicola Morgan's book, "The teenage guide to stress" came out. One Saturday afternoon we got together and looked at the book. We talked about the issues in it. They read it for themselves over the next few weeks. We had another brief chat about it one afternoon when we met for some other work. All of them say they would recommend the book to other teens.
We worked on. The Colourmart people in England sent them some yarn so that they could go on making more chemo-caps for kids...with weird and wonderful designs. It was the creative outlet they needed. It was knitting that could be picked up and put down easily. The projects were small enough to be able to be finished even during periods of hard study. They have done a lot of other knitting too. My own knowledge has been tested to the limits by their questions.
They received their results on Thursday - outstandingly good results. All of them will get into their chosen courses at university. And yes, they plan to go on meeting and supporting each other. They are also teaching other young ones to knit - and live life with disabilities.
Their parents are proud of them, they are proud of each other. And I am proud of them too.