You are on page 1of 5

A Shawl for Anita by Lolita Andrada

My mother brought us up single-


handedly. It was an extraordinary task
for a woman so frail, dealing with
three adolescent children. But she
managed. She never finished high
school, but her deft hands had skillfully
eked out a living for the four of us. She
was good at knitting. That tided us
over until the eldest got a diploma of
teaching. Then she put up a sari-sari
store to send the other children to
college. Mother wanted us all to start
a college degree and she had
sacrificed much to see us through.
Mother had a soft heart - especially for Anita. Anita was
the youngest, and I, being the middle child, had always
envied her. She was sickly and Mother willingly indulged her.

Mother had a soft heart -


especially for Anita. Anita was the
youngest, and I, being the middle
child, had always envied her. She
was sickly and Mother willingly
indulged her.
My mother who had always been a frail woman was much
thinner now. Anita who was married by now had never stopped
being pampered. Her lack of concern for our mother's failing
health was getting on my nerves. I felt like shouting at her, calling
her names when I heard her ask Mother to knit a shawl for her.
Mother could hardly
refuse, but I knew that the
task was just too much for
her. Her fingers had lost
their flexibility; rheumatic
pain told on her knuckles
that felt a million pins
pricking. My heart went
out to her every time I saw
her painfully the knitting
needles into the yarn.
The rest of us did not want
to see Mother lift a finger. She
was too old to work, and we
wanted to save her the
burden of doing even the
lightest household chores.
Mother said she felt useless
being cooped up in the
house all day, doing nothing.
That was before Anita sweet
talked her into knitting her
shawl. I was beginning to
hate Anita for being so
callous.
Knitting the shawl might have been an agony for Mother, but
she never showed any pain. At the end of the day, she would look
at her handiwork, a smile on her lips as she held it against her.
Knitting proved to be a slow process, but Mother didn't mind, I did
and when Anita showed up one day to visit Mother I scolded her
for being so thoughtless.
Anita touched my arm and in a
gentle voice said, "I did it for Mother.
That shawl is giving her reason to live.
She was wasting away, didn't you
notice? She felt so useless because
she had nothing to do, no matter
how small. Mother is one person who
prefers to live her life working. If she
stops working, she will stop living." I
nodded my head. Perhaps Anita was
right I was beginning to understand
my mother

Related Interests