Monday, January 18, 2010

How many things do you assume you can't do?

Our big kids received custom-made snuggies for Christmas this year, as did my 5-year-old daughter. My 3-year-old son did not but, after seeing his older siblings wrapped in yards of fleece with sleeves, asked me where his was. Requesting one for him seemed awkward and, well, inappropriate, given the chaos of Christmas. But there was my little guy, looking at his big sisters and brother, wide-eyed, and turning to me. "My mama will make me one," he told his older sister, all confidence and barely-out-of-toddlerhood innocence. "Is my snuggie ready yet, Mama?"

I can't sew. I can mend things -- hem a pair of pants, re-attach a button, take in a waistband, darn a sock -- but I can't actually sew something from scratch. At least, I was sure I couldn't.

My little guy, though, was certain that I could. So I go to work.

My mother-in-law hauled out her ancient sewing machine. I scrounged around and came up with a length of green fleece, originally intended to transform a frog costume into a dinosaur costume, and a barely-used fleece baby blanket. I fussed and arranged and pinned and unpinned while he watched me, with absolute faith.

I cut the fleece. Badly. The sewing machine sewed a beautiful 6-inch-long seam in no time, and then jammed. I left the pieces of fleece on the dining table while I supervised a playdate for our 11-year-old son, and then, hours later, picked up part of a sleeve and started sewing by hand.

It took ages, and I sewed one sleeve inside out -- but there was no way I was going to pick out the stitches at 11 p.m. -- and I totally cut the arm holes wrong, but the mutant, patchwork snuggie was done by midnight, made entirely by hand, and not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Or maybe it was horribly shabby, but my 3-year-old didn't care. He put it on immediately, paraded around in it, and was thrilled to have it during our 29-hour-long car ride home.

He was so sure that I could do it. I was equally sure that I couldn't. But I did it anyway, and there's a lesson for me in that.

In spite of this snuggie, I still think I can't sew. Which says a lot about me, actually -- in spite of the fact that I make more than half my living by writing, I still don't think of myself as a writer.

So, what's the point of this snuggie experience? It was a sharp reminder for me of the fact that we really can do anything if we put our minds to it.

I can't sew. But I did. And it doesn't look perfect, but it's fine. How many other things do I avoid because I think I can't do them? Why not try, anyway?


Anonymous said...

What a great lesson here, Lylah. I think I can't garden because I didn't learn it as a child. I think I can't play music or paint because I haven't done either since high school (I'm 56). But your piece is a reminder to open our minds.

I'm setting myself a challenge: for the next three months, I'm going to do (not try, but do)one thing each month that I habitually think I can't do. Thank you!

LMAlphonse said...

Thank you for reading! I'm glad your feel inspired by the post!