Have you ever known that you are not great at something but, in a moment of weakness, you think, “Maybe this once I’ll be good at it! I’ll just try again”?
Regrettably, I apparently am not a quitter.
When I was in high-school I had to take “Home-Economics”. Unfortunately, back in “the day”, we had a limited choice of classes to take. I wanted to sign up for “Industrial Arts” but when I asked my mother about it she was adamant that I would need skills to keep a home well and that I must choose between cooking or sewing. I’d already done an embarrassing stint in “cooking” so…off I went to sewing class!
I remember the teacher sighing, often, as she tried to help me understand the logistics of making the “Easy” blouse pattern I’d chosen. I also recall the day she said, “I’ve never done this before but you’ve told me your mother sews and, since you are so behind on your project, you must take this home. Perhaps your mother can help you.” (Another sigh)
I agreed, confident that I’d figure it out when I didn’t have the pressure of the educator peering over my shoulder.
As my mother observed my struggling, I recall more sighs of frustration but, being a good, Christian woman, she did not condone cheating. For awhile, as my teacher had done at school, she tried her best to instruct me and stick to her values but, after seeing me brutalize the shirt for too long, even she could stand it no longer. Leaving integrity in the dust, she became compelled to right my many wrongs.
As humiliating a memory as that is for me, I believe it is even more-so for my dear mother. She was more than a bit heartbroken with her - I mean “my” - less-than-adequate mark at the end of that semester. Sadly, she couldn’t appeal it without admitting she’d sewn most of the garment.
Years later, I thought I’d try my hand at stitching again and borrowed my mom’s sewing machine. I’m not sure, since I was older and a mother myself, if I thought I’d learned (by osmosis or some miracle?!) how to think right-side up when working inside-out?
Sadly, it only ended with my mother’s mumbled disbelief as she took apart the asymmetrical seams and, once again, finished the outfit for me.
Why then, with awareness of my limitations, do I insist on repeating idiocy? I know that I am not a soloist but I recently sang one which was, regrettably, recorded. As I watched and listened with total humiliation, my very ill-pitched performance, my mind returned to that scene, from years before…
As my mother ripped open the stitches I’d made, her words rang true… “Patricia Dawn - no one has every gift! Use the ones you’re given!”