Thursday, April 19, 2012

Did Your Mom Teach You That?

by Ellery Adams

I've been thinking about traditions lately.

Mostly, I've been thinking about the skills we pass down from generation to generation. My mother taught me how to do things around the house at a young age. By the time I was eight, I knew how to operate the washing machine, determine if a plant in our garden was a weed, start the lawnmower, and cook things like macaroni and cheese.

When I went off to college, I wasn't concerned about having to look after myself. My mom had prepared me for what to do if I got sick, a button fell off my coat, or my car battery died.


I'm trying to be as good as Mom was about instilling life skills, but one thing I never could learn was how to be adept at sewing (other than a button). Thankfully, my daughter Sophie is learning to sew at school and her teacher, who knows how much I like to draw, asked me to sketch out a design for their class auction project - a quilt.

(You'll see the beginnings of it here and I will post more pics when it's done.)


The kids study the life cycle of the butterfly and I thought it would make a beautiful quilt, with the butterflies in cocoons in the moonlight and bursting forth over dozens of bright flowers below a bright, merry sun. So maybe now I'll learn a bit more about sewing.

Together, Sophie and I are beading and stitching, gardening and baking, and building so many precious memories.

What about you? What skill did your mom teach you that you cherish to this day?

11 comments:

NoraA said...

I was a latch key kid in the 50's. Mommy Dearest and I lived with my grandmother who ran the family's Real Estate business. Even at the age of 7 I can remember part of my chores being the vacuuming, and dusting of the furniture... Making my own bed everyday and remembering to bring up the mail. I learned to cook in self defense as neither of them were that good at it.

Aurian said...

I have learned how to do household chores from my mother as well. But it was not done in a friendly way, but in a "you have to do this from now on" manner. So I really really don't have any fond memories of chores like that. (And still dislike doing them). When I went to live on my own, I used to call the mother of my best friend for all kinds of advice instead of my own. How to clean this, how to cook that.
So, make it fun with your children, take time and be patient. Otherwise, there will be no bond at all between you ...

Mare said...

I had a rather interesting upbringing so I took away some different skills. I think the quilt is a great idea and I do hope that you post pics along the way. I wish I was closer....Oh, and I sew much like you do!

Leann Sweeney said...

Though my mother was very troubled, she was creative. She could draw, she wrote a play for our girl scout troop to perform and she painted. She also made sure our lives were filled with music. I took that creativity part and ran with it, trying to learn everything I could so that I would not follow her overpowering destructive ways. I have to say, learning to quilt gave me so much peace. It was like finding that good, honest mother I missed out on. Every quilt I make is a lesson in precision, creativity, making my mistakes okay (because there will be mistakes in every quilt) and in perseverance. I did many things with my daughter--like you are doing. Isn't it wonderful?

Anonymous said...

My mom was so busy helping to make ends meet that she didn't have the time or energy to teach me many domestic things, but she taught some of life's most important lessons: never give up, always try, appreciate what you have, be grateful, appreciate beauty, people, and goodness and kindness. In short, she taught me how to live a good life.

Brittney said...

My childhood was also non traditional. My mom was a nurse working 3rd shift and my dad was a farmer working all the time. So we got shuffled between them and my grandmother. Then when I was 9 they divorced and we stated with my dad which was very unusual at the time. But through it all I was always expected to do my share around the house, a little taught by all 3 people. Now with my son I try to give him a little more stable environment. No shuffling and his dad and I really try to work with him everyday to make things not seem like chores just like things that we do and make them fun.

Ellery Adams said...

All useful skills and great advice too from Aurian. There's a right way to teach everything to a child and it usually depends on the child.

NoraA, my mom learned to cook in self defense too. MY grandmother couldn't make a thing. To cook spaghetti, she'd put the uncooked noodles and sauce in the oven until warm and then serve. Very crunchy spaghetti!

Dru said...

My mother taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to do. In addition she taught all of us to be independent and self reliant. She also taught us to cook and keep a clean house.

Vicki said...

My mother taught me to cook, sew, knit and quilt. We are making a quilts together right now. We took piano lessons at the same time. Now we are in the Red Hat Society together. I have cerebral palsy and she always instilled in my that I can do anything I set my mind to and not to let other people hurt my feelings with comments when they don't know the person that I am inside. In all honesty, even at 42 I learn something from my mother every day.

C said...

My mother taught me independence and self sufficiency as well as the skills and appreciation for needlework, crochet, crafts, and sewing. She also passed on a can do attitude about trying new things. The best advice for getting things done that I try to pass on to my boys is "you can accomplish just about anything 15 minutes at a time." In today's fast paced lifestyles, sometimes we only have 15 minute blocks to do the things we must do and things we simply want to do.

Candi

G said...

My mother imbued in me a love of animals -- especially cats -- and books. She taught me to see beauty and wonder in what the world calls ugly. And she ingrained in me two precepts I follow to this day: place all the hangers in the closet facing the same direction so clothes are easy to grab if there is a fire; and never learn to milk a cow unless you want to get up at 4 a.m.