In high school, I ran track for one year. My dad had told me that I needed to try out for one sport. If I liked it, great; if not, all I had to do was finish the season. Given that girls’ sports at my high school were volleyball (too much pain), soccer (too many potheads) and golf (too much skill and equipment), the default choice was track. Good thing I liked to run. I wasn’t blazingly fast, but I could usually manage not to embarrass myself during a race. There were a couple exceptions; I still owe Erratic Elle for the 400 m that she had to run for me when I didn’t hear my name called. (Sorry!) My favorite race was the 400 m relay. My teammates and I practiced a lot on our baton hand-off, making sure we got it nice and smooth. I haven’t run since college, but I’m passing a new kind of baton these days.
My girls have always been fascinated by all my crafty pursuits and have always desperately wanted to join in. We’ve had a few failed attempts at crochet and the knitting looms. The eagerness is there, but the dexterity hasn’t caught up yet. I feel bad for them when they want so badly to be able to do the things that I do. Last weekend, they were pestering me to “do a craft” with them. Currently, their idea of “doing a craft” is to cut up a lot of paper and then glue and tape it all into interesting arrangements. I can handle only so much confetti before reaching my boiling point and I declare a moratorium on all “crafts” in a fit of neat-freak fury. So this time I decided to try something new with them.
I pulled three small scraps of fabric from my scrap bag, threaded three needles in bright red thread for easy viewing and sat down on the couch with my girls to teach them how to sew. There’s no way I’m letting them near my sewing machine just yet and I figure everyone should have at least some rudimentary hand-sewing skills first. Kind of like learning how to do multiplication in your head before relying on a calculator. I can’t say that our first little sewing session was all sunshine and roses. All three of us got frustrated at one point or another, but for the most part, the girls were enjoying it. They didn’t follow my admonishments to make small stitches and Granota had a tendency to get her thread tangled into fabulously complicated loops, but progress was made.
The next day, they wanted to do more sewing. Rana wasn’t content with just practicing rows of stitching on a scrap of fabric, though. She wanted to make something. Can’t say that I blame her. I cut a large scrap into four squares and she sewed them together into a sort of quilt for her stuffed bunny. Granota began sewing two squares together, but lost interest after around the third time she tangled her thread. It looks like 6 is about the right age for this kind of thing.
Still, it gave me a sense of satisfaction watching my girls diligently stitching away at their little squares of fabric and loving it. It will be fun to see their skills develop in the years to come. And nobody will be out of breath or have sore legs afterwards.