Friday, January 10, 2014

Finish Line


When Parker was a baby, I made my first patchwork quilt.
It was also my last patchwork quilt. 
It took me weeks to make and while he loved the blanket, it was a lot of work and my sewing skills left a lot to be desired.  I am not known for my attention to details and getting the squares all lined up perfectly while taking care of a baby and oh, look...a sparkly.........
It was not going to win any ribbons at the fair and I was keenly aware of how poor the needlework was and how the blocks weren't even all the same size. 

A few years ago, I started to get the urge to try quilting again, but I was still sewing on that same machine I bought all those years ago with Baby Parker and I am still me. I knew that whatever I started was just going to be terrible.
 I have so many unfinished projects, because I can tell that the end result isn't going to be perfect and I abandon it.
I have  made major life choices with this same mentality.  If the end result is not going to be exactly what I envisioned when I started, my instinct is to bail. 
I never realized this was not the only way to go until I found something in my life that was really difficult, that was clearly NOT going the way I envisioned it when I started and yet--- I wanted to be there for every part of the process and reaching the end was the perfect ending.  The masterpiece would come in seeing it to the end, whatever that was going to be. I didn't need control of when and how it ended, because I believed that it was something that could last forever.
Meeting Matt and bringing our families together was something that I decided I was not going to quit. I do not ever want our family to stop being a family and as we have made some huge messes and been through so many changes of direction- it is always my favorite project- even when it sucks. 

So back to patchwork quilts....
Today, I finished one.

Okay, okay, it's just a lap quilt- but the point is I finished it.
I didn't even quit at the binding, where many a baby blanket has been abandoned by me because I suck at binding.
The lines are crooked, the shape is bunchy, but by darn-- I started it and I finished it, even when I knew it was going to be wonky. 
It's not a work of art, it's amateurish and uneven, but for me- it's a amazing. 
It's a finished piece. 
I finished something.

I am still learning and growing and stitch by stitch, I am realizing the masterpiece in seeing things through to the end. I can be a person who finishes things, who remains and who does not give up. I can be a person who keeps on trying, no matter how many mistakes she has made and how many flaws are seen by others. I can be a person who knows she can finish and do the things she avoided because she just knew she was the last person to figure them out, so why even try.
 I can be a person who can be proud of what she has done.
I think that is the heart of it, I was so use to hearing how much I sucked, that rather than have any accomplishments picked apart and slammed, I just chose not to finish.
Nobody can fail me if I get an incomplete, they can't point out all of my mistakes and shortcomings if I have nothing to present.
So failures were not mine, but neither were successes. 
 I just now realized that. 

I didn't finish because I didn't want my work to be ripped apart and I once lived in a world where everything was judged and deemed inadequate. Every wrong step, every slip up was pointed out and I was constantly being told that everything I did, dreamed of or hoped for was pointless, because nothing would ever be good enough. 
Viewing myself through that critical filter, I saw only the mistakes as I worked on everything, on being a wife, a mother, a Latter Day Saint, a housekeeper, a student......
I avoided that finish line with every ounce of  fight I had in me.
I could not be judged if I never finished. I could tell myself that all of the criticism I was getting was going to go away once I presented a perfect, finished.....Chris.
 I just wasn't perfect yet, so I needed to be nothing.
But that was then and I do not want a life where the crappy things from my past determine the quality of my future.

 I am a good mother.

 I am a good wife.

 I am a pretty crappy housekeeper.

......and I can finish things and be proud of the process and the things I learned.

This week I finished my first quilt in nearly 20 years and I am proud of that. 


  1. Finished is better than perfect!!

    Congratulations on persevering to the finish!


  2. Gorgeous! You are amazing and totally inspire me to be a better person! Love you! :)

  3. I am so proud of you because when I met you I knew you were not a quitter! I would give this a fun name: something like: Frustration of a mom or something humrorus! That means you did it on purpose this way! I think it is beautiful! Hope all is well where you are! tell family Sister Heyn says hi and is counting on Pageant buds this year!

  4. May I point out a very important item about your first quilt? Something we often overlook, forget, or completely miss when we are so focused on perfection? In your first paragraph of this post....
    "he loved the blanket".......Parker loved his blanket. He didn't care about any imperfections - real or perceived! He loved the blanket his mother had made just for him.

    Love or perfection? Love on the way to perfection!

    Your newest quilt is loved, isn't it!

    Your determination and dedication to your family? Inspired by love!

    You as a woman, a wife, a mom, a daughter (mine!), a child of God? All are loved! All are progressing toward that desired perfection we have been promised. It comes when we keep on keeping on, I think!