If She Could Teach Me Now

6 May

Singer Sewing Machine

I readily admit that sometimes my longing for my mother is triggerd by my own needs—wishing she could do something for me. Rather than feel guilty about this selfish desire, I rationalize that the nature of  the child/parent relationship is about what we do for each other. Right now, in my teenagers’ lives, I do so much for them. I do not expect a “pay back,” but I hope to experience some reciprocity. More importantly, it is a goal, however idealistic, that as parents who do many things for our children, we ultimately teach them to do these things for themselves.

Why is it, then, that I did not learn how to sew?

That is the need I had/have that got me thinking about how much my mother did for me and how much I did not want to learn some of the skills needed to fend for myself. My mom was a master seamstress. She made curtains, slip covers, clothing and even doll outfits (see Barbie’s Runway post).  She altered clothes to make them shorter, longer, etc. I do not wish to create clothing, all I want to do is sew a simple hem. My mother saved us all time and money. I can remember her sitting at our dining room table with her old Singer Sewing machine fixing something for my sister, father, or me. She wanted to teach me the basics and often asked me to sit with her and learn. But, in keeping with typical teenage culture, the more she asked the more I resisted. I recall responding with the all-knowing, “I’ll never have to do that myself.” I remember thinking how boring and tedious sewing looked. And, now I wish for the ability to do more than sew a button onto a shirt. How smart it would have been to learn to sew a simple hem. Almost every pair of pants I buy needs to be shortened.  When making a decision to buy pants, I add the $10 – $12 tailoring charge and figure in the time it will take to be fitted and to pick up the pants. Sometimes those qualifications make the pants not even worth buying! I fantasize, “If I only knew how to sew….I could wear these pants tomorrow… and they’d be a real bargain!”

There is even more I could have/should have learned from my mother, including basic handyman skills and shopping for antiques. She could hang any frame on a wall, drill holes and hang shelves as well as find valuable antiques and sell them in her shop. And, this is just a partial list of skills she had and wished to share, but that I refused to learn.

What I wonder is what special or even ordinary skills you learned from your mom. Which of her talents did you take for granted or refuse to adopt? If you could be her apprentice now, what do you wish she would teach you?

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4 Responses to “If She Could Teach Me Now”

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster May 7, 2012 at 2:28 am #

    I was such a tomboy that my mom thought it better I not venture into the kitchen. I couldn’t imagine many places I’d less want to be, so I didn’t protest too much then. Now, I often wish I could go back in time and learn how to make some of her best recipes, which she never wrote down. It’s taken me a long time to get comfortable in the kitchen and I’m wagering it’s going to be longer still before I accept that I can’t go back in time on this front.

  2. Nina Badzin May 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    This post made me think . . . I think my mom almost took pride in teaching me NOTHING domestic. I had to learn for myself how to cook, clean, etc . . . things that help run a home. They may not be glamorous but not knowing how isn’t exactly “liberating.” Just means you have to learn eventually.

    totally wish I could sew!

  3. snapsandbits May 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Both my mom and grams were expert sewers. Grams made all of my mom’s clothes and my mom made many of ours (3 girls, 3 matching outfits, even though we were different ages). I never learned to sew and, like you, I wish I could at least hem things!! My mom also knits and I never learned that either…It does have to be a labor of love since these days in many cases it’s cheaper to buy clothes. So, off I go to the outlets–and then use my spare time for blogging or FB 😉

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