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The Gift of Love

I love creating new crochet projects. As I wistfully peruse the available patterns in mail-order catalogs and magazines, I dream of the squeals of delight and tears of gratitude as the joyful recipients receive my loving handiwork.

I begin by deciding on a pattern. This will be an afghan for my 14-going-on-27-year-old daughter Danielle. I suggest a lovely lacy pattern with delicate pink roses, and she rolls her eyes at me. I??m sure this means she??s full of admiration at my good taste and wisdom, but just to be sure, I let her choose a pattern for herself from my library of crochet books.

After an exhaustive 2-minute search, she selects a scrap-yarn afghan in rainbow colors so bright it makes my eyes bleed. Plus, it was in a complicated ripple pattern with front posts and back posts, cross-reverse-double crochet, and a triple with a twist ending in a classic swan dive. "And you??ll have it done by my sleepover on Friday, right?" she asks.

Of the eight colors called for in the pattern, I already have on hand exactly two. So I substitute the others, hoping she will never notice. Working on this color-palette nightmare is about as annoying as being pecked to death by a duck; slow and agonizing

As I work, Danielle taunts her younger sister Katie. My daughters, who hate each other at the molecular level, find any reason to claim that the amount of parental love they receive far exceeds what the other gets. This afghan was the excuse Katie needed to start putting her "How to Become an Only Child" plan to work.

As the afghan progresses, my enthusiasm for the project rapidly wanes. With each row, I remind myself of how happy my daughter will be, her look of appreciation, how it will liven up her bedroom, how she will cherish my gift forever.

At last, I proudly present my eldest with this labor of love. Two days later, Danielle trades the afghan for a poster of Johnny Depp.

And to think I took up crochet to relax ...

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