My girlie had her first handmade market debut two weekends ago. The annual holiday fair at school. She's been determined to do this for over a year. Absolutely set on pursuing this dream.
It happened a few summers ago when we sat side by side in front of my mother's Elna sewing machine teaching her the basics and letting her press the pedal and send the machine whirling through the fabric she had chosen.
The smile on her face and the learning she did in that first summer were immeasurable. I, the teacher, wanted her to know the basics, the stitches, the way the machine worked. How to thread the machine and how to finish it off when done. She bore this beautifully, in fact she seemed to absorb everything I had to teach her about sewing on a machine.
Then, she was on her own. My fabric stash at her fingertips. Yet another opportunity for me to let go. To appreciate the thoughts running through my head. "Oh, I was going to use that fabric" or "That one is supposed to be a...." or "No. That I'm saving for..". To hear those thoughts and struggle to breathe and say, "Yes, you may use whatever you wish".
To recognize the girl in me that loved when my own mother had said those same words to me. To be less concerned about what all the fabric WAS going to be and more interested in what the fabric COULD BE now.
She started slow, tentative. Reluctant to push the machine very fast more comfortable to amble along stitch by stitch. Today? Well, that girl can fly is all I'm saying.
So with the Winter Faire approaching she and another friend spent days together side by side sewing for their stand. One sewing bracelets. One sewing bags. Both happy to be doing something on their own yet willing to ask questions when they were stuck.
For me it was delightful. Freeing. Beautiful. My girl sailing through the fabric stash, ever respectful and helping me breathe and let go...breathe and let go.
My child as my teacher, again.
And so she did. She made 86 bracelets to be exact. There may have been a few days at the end that required some reinforcements. A late night "ribbon stitcher" along with the big daddy as head "button guy".
There were looks across the room at one another with this daughter of ours, head down, sewing in the middle. Smiles were passed and looks of awe. Her tenacity. Her drive to create something and follow through.
Her label---completely her design and idea. Of course, this enchanted mama deemed it just the right name for her.
Then, the big weekend happened. She rose to the occasion. She smiled. She answered questions. She stood on her feet for hours at a time experiencing "retail". A challenge at best.
The weekend flew by and then she packed up her bracelets. Tired but excited about her first foray into the handmade world.
She sold quite a few. She still has some left. She wants to do it again.
I know as her mama that more than anything it was a success. She set the goal, pursued the goal and learned a few things in the process. As much as I would have loved to tell her all about "my retail experience" I tried to let her learn in her own way. Knowing it's better that way.
So I learn to let go of the very children I want to protect and hold so tight. Recognizing that every time I do they are able to fly more freely.
I believe that in the end I will have learned more from my children than I ever could have taught them myself.
For now I will smile at my own bracelet, that was made "just for me", from my girlie and love her even more than I did yesterday.