Thursday, September 9, 2010

Making My Grandmas Proud

I'm pretty sure my grandmas are smiling at me from heaven. They're probably laughing at me too. But I think I may have also made them both proud this week, by teaching my kids some of the things they taught me as a child.

I'll begin with Grandma Shea. Many of my childhood memories involve my Grandma Shea. She was a huge part of my life, and someone I was lucky enough to see almost everyday as a child. From the green tupperware filled with candy bars in her deep freeze, to the homemade pies and jelly she was constantly making (I never tasted store-bought jelly until I went to college and I still don't really like it, and I still crave Grandma Shea's homemade chokecherry jelly) to her love of fresh "cukes" and tomatoes, many of my memories of Grandma Shea revolve around food. I couldn't help but smile as I sliced fresh tomatoes from our garden the other day. Grandma would be so proud of me for even bothering with a garden. She would also approve of my decision not to can any of our garden veggies (Grandma hated canning). In her memory, I indulged in fresh tomato slices with sugar. I'd forgotten how good it tastes! I taught Lizzy this trick, and she's eaten nothing but tomatoes since! I'm not sure if it's the tomatoes she likes, or the fact that she gets sugar!

And then there's my Grandma Parker. She's been gone less than a year, and I think of her lots, and often think I should call or write her. Then I remember she's no longer living in the house on Harrison Street. It makes me sad, but this week I've been doing something she'd be so proud to hear about. I'm teaching Lexi and Tess how to sew.

I'm not quite sure how I got conned into teaching them to sew. I think it was during one of the late night campfires last weekend. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and an idea the girls would soon forget. They didn't forget. We spent Labor Day shopping for a pattern and fabric, and a little Sewing 101. They each made a pair of pajama pants for Lizzy (those were their "practice" pants). Because they couldn't pick out just one cute flannel fabric, they each made two pairs of pajama pants and a pair of pajama shorts for themselves. They're not quite done yet.. Tess still needs to hem her shorts. But, overall, I'm pretty impressed with their sewing. It's not perfect. The seams are crooked and the pieces aren't cut exactly right, but for their first try, I think they're pretty good. The best part, was witnessing their confidence grow during the project. I had to practically hold their hands during the first two pairs... I helped them cut the fabric, even held the fabric as they used the sewing machine. By last night, I was able to cook supper while they sewed all by themselves in the basement. Their confidence has skyrocketed. They're so excited to wear these new pajama pants for pajama day at school. And they're planning to make pajama pants for everyone as Christmas gifts. Grandma would be so proud, of the girls, and of me. I'm not a patient person, and definitely not a teacher. But my grandma, and my mom, were both Home Ec teachers for many years. They were patient. They were good teachers. And I finally get it. I finally get what kept them going. Helping their students become confident, and excited, about their new skills is pretty cool.

Yes, my grandmas are proud of me. I can tell, even though they're not here to tell me themselves. And knowing I've passed on a little of them to my own kids feels pretty good too.

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