I remember sitting at the sewing machine with the piece of material that was to become a skirt in front of me. Mom was standing over my left shoulder peering at the stitching. I would go slowly, guiding the needle by the way I moved the deep blue cloth. I wanted my stitches to be as straight and smooth as hers. I could visualize the skirt as I would wear it to school. I'd twirl and the skirt would flow around me. I stopped the machine and we both inspected the line of thread.
"No, go rip it out and try again," she'd say.
I hated to rip out. I hated to redo what I had already done. But this was for a 4-H project and had to be just right. So, rip out I would do. The slow picking, trimming, and pulling of thread. It took so much time...wasted time, I felt. To make a piece of cloth into something worthwhile, it always took time and patience. Two things this young girl lacked.
Mom has been gone for over seven years. I never did get those stitches straight enough. Sometimes I feel I never got anything straight enough. I would try over and over for her approval, for her praise. I wanted to know she was proud of what I did, but it never came.
"That's good, but I know you can do better," she would say.
I was a child that was satisfied with mediocre. I was happy with average. She wasn't. She knew more than I, what I was capable of, so she pushed.
I still, today, hear that voice, "Okay, Kathy, that's good, but I know you can do better." So I do. I try harder. I work harder. I rip out and do it again. She's making me into the woman I am today...still.