Thursday, August 8, 2013
Bunny's First Quilt
Over the past week I've spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a mother. Having three little daughters is hard work -- God forgive me for all the times that I, as a single teacher, thought that stay-at-home moms had it easy. There have been moments when the responsibilities and resulting exhaustion have been almost more than I could bear. Last weekend I devoured a copy of this book which I highly recommend to all overwhelmed mothers, especially those with young children. I came away with a much needed dose of hope, a few new strategies, and a renewed commitment to spend time learning to really love and understand my children.
I'll be honest: there are times when I use my sewing as an escape from motherhood. While I don't think this is completely abnormal, I know that it's also not the best idea, especially for someone who sews as much as I do. Instead of using my sewing as a way to get away from my girls, I want to use it as a method for connecting with them more deeply. My girls have been begging me for months to teach them how to sew, so I decided that this week we were going to finally start. And today, Bunny and I finished her very first quilt.
Keep in mind, my girls are young -- ages 6, 4, and almost 3 years old -- so I'm not going to hand them a rotary cutter and my sewing machine and say, "Have fun!" Instead, I let Bunny sift through my scrap bucket, picking out any pieces she liked. We spread these out on the floor and then she would bring me a scrap or two at a time as we slowly pieced together a log cabin. I did all the cutting and pressing, and often she would sit on my lap, helping me guide the fabric through the machine with her little hand on top of mine. We didn't always agree on her choices -- there are definitely some things that I would have done differently. When I tried to give her a little gentle advice about the wisdom of including a certain scrap, she looked at me with big eyes and said, "Mommy, it's my quilt. Can't I make it the way I want it?" I knew she was right, so I backed off and let her have free reign. I also soon learned that if I in any way showed that I liked a fabric she was thinking of adding, forget it -- she didn't want it anymore. I laughed about this later when I shared it with my husband and parents, all the while tucking it away as useful knowledge for future dealings with my independent daughter.
While we sewed, we talked...a lot. I taught her new words like "seam allowance," "basting," and "binding." She chatted with me about school, her sisters, and upcoming holidays. We both shared reasons why we love sewing. When the last stitch was sewn on the binding, I was tired and my neck ached from trying to sew while looking around a six year old's head, but the satisfaction was incredible. And the look on Bunny's face...it was absolute joy.
I had waited so long to sew with my girls because I thought they were too young, but they weren't really. I just needed to adjust my ideas of what sewing with them was going to be. Bunny didn't have to sew every stitch for it to be her quilt. And I gained the pleasure of time with my daughter and some valuable insights into her life.
In the grand scheme of things, that's a pretty good deal.
Linking up to Finish It Up Friday.