Fumble-fingered mom reaches for sewing alternative
When my daughter received her first Brownie badge, called a Try-It, I did what any modern woman would have done: I congratulated her and then flipped the badge over, looking for the adhesive strip so I could attach it to her sash.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"Mommy, what are you doing?" my daughter asked. "You have to sew it on."
Sew it? At first I thought she was kidding. Then I realized she wasn't.
Let me just say that I am the type of person whose sewing kit contains a bunch of dull pins, some dental floss, and a stapler. In the home- economics class I was forced to take in high school - because the art classes were full - I spent the entire semester trying to thread the sewing machine.
I had a feeling I was wasting everybody's time - especially the teacher's.
According to her, I had absolutely no eye for detail, my stitches were too big, and my fine motor skills were nonexistent. And that, she implied to my mother, was sugar-coating it.
Fifteen years later, I still haven't
figured out how to make tiny, even stitches, and the last time I saw our sewing machine, it was holding up the back end of my husband's car while he changed the tire.
But I was determined to sew on my daughter's badge. So I licked my fingertips, closed one eye, and threaded the needle. I concentrated and tried to remember how to make a stitch. Any stitch.
After several attempts, I realized that I wasn't dealing with ordinary embroidered fabric. The badge was obviously made of special bulletproof material. An hour later, with my important fingers wrapped in Band-Aids, I had finally attached the patch securely to the sash.
The embroidered triangle was a masterpiece, proving beyond all doubt that I was an involved, caring mother. I proudly offered my labor of love to my daughter.
"Mom," she said, "it's upside down."
I was surprised she could make out the design through all the stitches.
When she received three more "Try-Its" at her next Brownie meeting, I forced a smile and tried to look excited. Then I opened a bottle of glue and slathered it onto the sash.
I was impressed with my ingenuity - until the patches started curling up at the corners and falling off. I knew that when my daughter wore her uniform in public, the word would be out that I was domestically challenged.
But, at the next meeting, I was stunned to find out most of the mothers apparently had had the same kind of home-economics training as I did. One mother had stapled the patches to her daughter's sash, while another had used a set of diaper pins. My friend Linda, whom I've always viewed as a perfect mother, had traced her daughter's patches onto the sash with laundry pens.
Suddenly, I knew everything would be OK. I didn't even mind when my daughter brought home five new Try-Its that day. I just did what any modern mother would do: I congratulated her - and then went into the garage to find the duct tape.
Debbie Farmer lives with her husband and daughter in California.
Parents: To submit a first-person essay on your own parenting experiences, send an e-mail to email@example.com.