March 24, 2016

Today my youngest kiddo turns 5. He is so dang pumped. Last night about two hours after he went to sleep he started crying out, saying “This is taking forever!” Sometimes when this happens he’s not actually fully awake and it takes a little bit to get him to explain what’s going on. Turns out, he felt like the night was taking too incredibly long and he was never going to turn five. Poor kid.

Two hours after a birthday kid goes to sleep is prime time around here. I was trying to rush him back to sleep cause I was in the middle of five different birthday projects. This little guy realized yesterday that he hadn’t planned on having a friend party and that he really, really wanted friends over. Like a whole bunch. He was very sweet and kind about it (“Can my friends please have some of my cake, Mama? If their mom’s say it’s okay? Please??) and I couldn’t say no to at least trying to invite a couple friends over last minute.

Also we live out of state of our family and so most presents arrive via Amazon. We’re not big on wrapping paper, as I feel like that brown box does the same job. But, last night, it became apparent my soon to be five year old wasn’t sure he agreed. So suddenly there were presents to wrap.

And a house to decorate (and clean! Ohmyword there are people coming over tomorrow). And a cake to make. And because I wasn’t expecting last minute additions I’d saved a small sewing project for that night. A birthday sewing project. Which was actually bigger than I thought because I haven’t actually used my sewing machine (for fabric) in at least a year. Turns out you start to forget your “how to do things” tricks.

Luckily for me, the older kids really wanted to help, so they decorated with me, and wrapped everything that needed wrapped, all while I was shushing them to try to keep that almost five year old asleep.

And I cut and pinned and sewed and dug up my seam ripper and ripped seam and sewed again and ripped seam and sewed again. And I remembered one of the best tips I ever read while learning to sew: Learn to love that little seam ripper. Make it your BFF. If you start sighing and dreading pulling it out, you’re gonna start dreading sewing. Cause you’re definitely going to need to use it. Consider it as vital a tool to the finished project as your scissors. You’re gonna screw up, and you’re gonna fix it. That’s how you learn to sew.

I take it a step further and figure that’s how I’m going to sew always. Forget the learning to sew. That’s just how I sew, seam ripper in my pocket, at the ready. There’s always going to be some amount of seam that needs to be ripped.

Mistakes and fixing them are here to stay. No biggie. When you fix it, you do it a tiny bit different – you move that seam over just a touch so it can lay properly, or catch all the layers you need to catch. It’s how you learn from a teacher, and it’s the only way to teach yourself. You start with what you know, try, rip seam, and try it again. I’m totally comfortable with that.

So why, I wonder, am I less comfortable with other mistakes? Mistakes like saying the wrong thing, or pitching a job and not getting it, or putting on weight? Why do I let those be embarrassing? Why do I let those define who I am, instead of what I’m learning? Why don’t I just consider those a seam that needs to be resewn?

I’ve wanted to start some sort of failure club for a while. Someday in the future (and yes, at this point it does have to be in the future) there’s going to be a group of folks that are willing to try things they don’t think they’ll succeed at and I’m going to be a part of it. People who are willing to try things that are big enough that we expect to fail. That we’re almost certain we won’t get right the first time. Wouldn’t it be so great to not be scared of that? To be trying to push the boundaries of what you’re capable of? To have it be no big deal that you tried something that didn’t work at all? Or to be shocked out of your mind when it actually did??

Man! I can’t wait for that group. I’m so excited for seeing what I and whoever joins me tries to do. In the meantime, I’m going to keep my seam ripper out and in the open, where I can see it all the time. I think I can use the reminder that there’s not much I can’t rip out and try again a little bit different.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a cake to frost.

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