The gift inside the craft
I don't do as much crafting for you girls as I'd originally envisioned. I wanted to be the mom who makes every Halloween costume, celebrates every holiday with unique hand-made crafts. Instead, I'm obsessed with reading and taking long walks and I'm just not terribly good at sewing. Plus I'm morally opposed to ironing on a regular basis and sewing involves a vexing amount of ironing.
But your birthdays always bring out the wanna-be crafter in me.
Today you turn two and, true to form, last night I was up late finishing the bag and crown and banner I made for you.
I craft for the same reason I write- I want to remember, create, preserve. I want to leave behind a beautiful remnant of who we are, right now. I love the process of taking raw materials- words and thoughts, fabric and string - and making something with them.
I craft to tell you just how special you are to me, how worthy of my time and my attention. I want to create something that tells you who I think you are, who I see when I look at you. I try to stitch your tenacious, resilient, loving spirit into every seam.
Unfortunately, I also craft like I parent: half blind.
Clueless. But hopeful.
What I make is far from ideal. Every jagged seam is a lesson in acceptance of imperfection. Every time I embrace the mistakes - take a breath and rip out a seam, or gaze at an off stitch and leave it - I remember that this is life. Not perfect. Always changing. Full of possibility. Full of opportunities to try again.
The reverse is also true: I parent like I craft.
I start by reading books and blogs, coveting what I read and see and hear. I am filled with inspiration! And Capital L Love! I have a visionary plan!
Then I dive in with much preparation and gusto!
Things rarely turn out as I envisioned.
I drop stitches, pucker seams, sew uneven lines.
I try so hard, too hard. I want to cry.
Sometimes I walk away. Sometimes I yell into a pillow.
I come back, try something else, stand back, see if it works. I think through the possibilities, consult with books and friends, try again and again.
It's still not perfect.
I let it be. I sit there and look and accept where it's going.
I realize that if I'm conscientious and open, careful and curious, it turns into something wonderful, all on it's own, with just the right amount of help.
I have to keep learning this same lesson over and over again. I try not to think of this as a failure. I try to think of it as a gift I give to us both: accepting the purse with it's uneven straps, and the scarf that's just a little wider than I'd intended and the crown with a rough edge, it's all about accepting myself, and accepting you, just as we are. Imperfect, surprising, different every day.
Happy Birthday E. I love you with every imperfect bone in my body.
Your Clueless But Hopeful Mama