Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Labor of love part deux

I started this train of thought here but didn't finish it due to the length of the post... or maybe it was because I fell asleep on the keyboard. I can't quite recall...

I'd been up to my elbows in fuzzy fleece and stringy thread and flimsy tissue paper patterns for the week leading up to Hallowe'en. My clothes have a fine film of fleecy lint. My contacts don't let me focus close-up so I looked like an old lady squinting at the sewing machine needle as it threaded. My fingers are cracked and raw. It was only out of love that I didn't chuck the whole project out the window.

It's safe to say that I put every effort into this last-minute project, and I learned many things:

1) Don't do this again.
2) If you do do this again, give yourself more time. And find a stress-management technique that doesn't require your hands or your pedal foot.
3) Making Hallowe'en costumes does not give you permission to yell at your two-year-old when he plays with the needles or spool YET AGAIN. Your baby is more important than your project.

I also learned to step back and look at the costumes through the eyes of my children. They had a vision. So did I. Mine involved perfect seams and adorable little details. Theirs involved becoming characters from t.v. that do wonderful, impossible things. My vision did not matter. Theirs did.

I won't remember every mistake I made on these costumes, but I'll tell you what I will remember: the way my seven-year-old's body language changed when I put on the last bit of his outfit. The way he darted around the house like a little platypus spy. And what is seared into my memory is the smile that shone on my five-year-old's face as I pulled the costume over his head. His pleasure at becoming Ferb in that moment. I rarely see such a smile.

All my insignificant perfectionist worries fell away and made me realize that it was, actually, all worth it. I hope some day my children will have the same attitude about me as they do their costumes. I have plenty of imperfections and missing details that they may overlook. But I do my best, and at the end of the day, I do it for love.

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