Perfectionism

I’m not sure I ever saw my mom fail, at anything.

I’m going to ask her that later, and she’s going to half snort and say, “What did I ever succeed at, Elizabeth??” But to me, it all looked like succeeding. We went to the apple orchard, and everything got turned into something. We got tomatoes from neighbors and huge pots of amazing sauce turned up. She made clothes, I’m not even sure she followed patterns for. She crocheted and I never heard her utter “damn” and throw the project aside. She made the most intricate cross stitch patterns; I can barely pay attention long enough to thread the needle.

I don’t remember anything that she ever tried to do that she didn’t succeed at. I don’t ever remember her throwing something aside and saying “I quit.” I must have 4,000 project bags sitting around this house, projects I’ve started and not followed through with. I don’t remember her doing that.

Not to say she was always prolific; she had a friend who sewed voraciously when I was young, expert level. There were always multiple projects and a catalog of them all somewhere, huge stashes of fabric all actually intended for things, and more of it than she would need for any project. My mom wasn’t like that; probably because we couldn’t afford it and she had to work so many jobs. But she was really good, and disciplined, and I don’t think I ever saw her quit.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t get more of that. Or any of it, at all.

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