Our lives and experiences are a gold mine (and a minefield) for stories. The hard part is knowing what is suitable for a “business” blog. But if I want people to believe in the power of story, I have to be willing to share who I am. So here goes…
I’m a member of the Moncton Spiritual Book Club. We’re a group of women and men who meet every Sunday at the lovely Kiepenkerl Café Bistro in Dieppe to talk about books we are reading, what they mean to us, and how they help us on our individual journeys. We don’t read the same books; but we use them as a catalyst to spark conversation. Like most spirit gatherings, the conversation centres around love, but there is always a theme that evolves and we run with it. With Steve Clayton (whom I profiled in last week’s blog) joining us, the conversation moved into a discussion about how we love our pets unconditionally because they are unconditional in their love for us.
As I sat there and listened as others shared their stories, I knew that somehow unconditional love would also be the theme of this week’s blog.
Today, after more years than I can exactly remember, I pulled out my sewing machine to make slip covers for my dog Lulu’s bed. The machine I have is very old and very similar to the Bernina sewing machines of my grade eight HomeEc sewing class. And pop went the memories…
Grade eight was a year of a new school, puberty, and generally feeling like I didn’t fit anywhere. We had the choice of making either an apron or a jumper-style top. If I would have known that choosing the jumper would involve going into a closet with a partner to get measured, I would have chosen the apron, but in I went. Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I wore the top maybe once, but I did learn the basics of sewing.
Fast-forward, 40 or so years and there I am, in our basement, in my own little sewing corner that my darling hubby set up for me today, trying to remember how to thread a sewing machine and put in the bobbin, so I can sew covers for Lulu’s bed. Seems like an awful lot of fuss, but I did it because I love her and want her to be comfortable.
Sewing straight lines must be meditative, because the next thing I know all the good Mom memories came flooding in and reaffirmed that she loved me unconditionally. She may not have shown it in the way that I needed her to, but when I was in the hospital for 4 weeks, she came E-V-E-R-Y day to visit me; a ride that took at least 20 minutes each way. She even tried (misguidedly) to make liver more palatable when the doctor prescribed iron, by putting it into a blender with mashed potatoes and ketchup (the epic Liver Milkshake Story). And for my dateless Grade 12 graduation, she made sure I had a corsage to go with the dress I had sewn for my party.
As I moved past those icky teen years, I began to understand that my mom really did love me. A lot. And I realized how hard being a parent must be. I’ve never had kids of my own, but my dog is my baby. I take full blame for every neuroses that I’ve given her, and all the credit for the lovely girl she is. I don’t have all the answers, and I live in constant regret for not doing it perfectly, but I do my best. Just like Mom.