One of my major learning challenges came in first grade with my first pair of saddle shoes. I had worn other tie shoes before this, but there was usually an adult around to help out. I struggled to learn to tie the things. Then I struggled to make a knot that would hold. Then I struggled to tie the oft-suggested double knot designed to make sure the knot held. Of course after that I had to wrestle with the impenetrable knot that resulted when I tried to undo the double knot. My mother possessed what was to me a magical power to untie things. I have a clear memory of deciding I could never be a mother because I could never successfully remove tightly bound knots.
In Camp Fire Girls I was challenged to tie a square knot in the kerchief that came with our uniform. I consistently tied a slip knot instead of a square knot and never could get the hang of the appropriate kerchief display. Thankfully I never was a Boy Scout. My brother had to learn all sorts of knots as part of the Scout culture. I also grew up without boats so I never had to master nautical knots. In college I was in awe of my sailing friend who effortlessly handled the ropes and the requisite knots.
As I tied my shoes the other morning for what must be one of the thousands of times I have done it, I marveled that at some point it had become second nature. I still lack any more advanced knotting skill. Fortunately I married a man who flawlessly ties things to the top of the car as if it were the easiest thing in the world. And he definitely knows the difference between a square knot and a slip knot. If it were left to me, those car top parcels would be long gone.