Tuesday, December 6, 2016
at our sewing table
Earlier this year we gave our daughter a sewing machine for her birthday.
At the very thought of teaching her how to sew, a feeling of dread swept over me.
But, it was the only gift she really, truly, wanted, and the pros outweighed the cons, and so we bought her a sewing machine.
You see, I know how to sew. I don't remember ever not knowing how to sew. But knowing how to do something, even being good at something, doesn't mean you enjoy it.
I'm a perfectionist in some ways, and yet I'm not a very precise person. These two facts make my enthusiasm for sewing, well, non existent.
So I worried I would bring all sorts of baggage to the table when teaching my daughter how to ew. I worried that I would get frustrated, that I would hold some unattainable level of precision or perfection above my daughter's head. That I would yell. That I wouldn't be able to let go and let her lead the way. That I would need to control the situation.
But I forgot two other very important facts: that our relationship is unique, and as in every single thing she does, my daughter doesn't need a teacher. She needs a guide. A sounding board. Someone to look to when she has a question. Not an instructor. A mentor.
The first time we sat down at the table to sew, her new machine straight out of the box and shiny, the bobbin freshly wound, I showed her how to sew two pieces of fabric together. I over explained and spoke loudly, enunciating like I was speaking to someone who's native tongue was not my own. She watched closely, rolled her eyes, and said, "let me do it." I slipped out of the chair and stood, crossed my arms and watched.
And she did it.
And when my voice got short and my shoulders pulled up to my ears, my husband walked into the room. He put his hands on my shoulders and whispered, "she's fine."
And she was.
Over the last few months we've learned how breathe safety and space into our sewing time. We play Christmas music all year round, we sing loudly and off key as the sewing machine whirs. We tell jokes and laugh as we iron. We say I love you, and you're doing great, and keep going. Both of us. We stop before we get tired.
This week we're knee deep in homemade Christmas presents. Time constraints for shipping are pressing, and yet we're still able enjoy ourselves, both of us. Somehow we bring a certain lightness to the table, little expectation, and most importantly a deep respect and appreciation for the process and our relationship. There's no room for baggage at our sewing table. Only room for possibility, creativity, and some double over with laughter jokes.
"So, how are you doing, Mom?"
"Don't you mean sew good? Get it? So, like sew?"
And the laughter is contagious, the smiles infectious, threads cover the table and floor, pins prick our fingers and the sewing machine hums on...