Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why bother

I'll admit I was whining to another Mom at Starbucks about how much time and effort I spent making Valentine's for my kids (we have a "tradition" of giving out photo cards every year) but I was totally floored by her response... "Why bother?"  She went on to say I could run next door to CVS and pick up a box of Valentine's for $5, make the kids sign their names and be done.  I frequently get similar comments about making quilts.  People always ask how long it took me to make something, as if that's the measure of it's worth.  Granted, I was probably fishing for a compliment of sorts about what an amazingly creative and dedicated Mom I am but I really had to stop and think, "Why do I bother?" 

Well without even giving it much thought I realized I really just enjoy the process of making things.  Certainly not every aspect.  Fighting with MS Word to get my photos centered properly, waiting for 75 cards to print and then running out of ink in the middle isn't fun.  But laughing hysterically while taking pictures of a kid with a cupcake he can't eat is hopefully something we'll always remember.  Shorting my binding, miscalculating my quilting plan, taking a slice out of my hand again... not my finest moments: )  But then there are the happy memories stitched in to every one of my quilts.  Endless hours happily spent sewing together small pieces of fabric while watching chick flicks, road trips and football games made bearable with hand quilting, the joy of pouring over every square inch of a finished quilt while hand tacking the binding.   It's all good!
The more I thought about it I realized there are so many other reasons!  I bother because...  I like having things that are exactly the way I wanted them because I made them that way. I know that every handmade gift/card/jar of pickles I give includes the love I put it in to making it (not to mention DNA).  So my kids understand that holidays and gifts aren't just about making another trip to the mall.  I need one thing in my life that is completely under my control.  And even, what else would I do with my free time?

But the biggest reason I bother is simply for the joy of creating something.  Having a vision of how something could look and then making it happen.  Taking an idea and turning it in to something tangible.  Turning a random stack of fabrics in to a beautiful quilt...  Making something delicious from what's fresh at the Farmer's Market...  Knitting up socks that fit and make me smile...

I bother because I need to create things that are uniquely me!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


  1. You gotta tell people you MADE THOSE SOCKS!! :) Happy Valentine's.

  2. (Um, maybe you did.) HAPPY MORE VALENTINE'S!

  3. I agree with you that it's about the process as much as it is about the end result. Your valentines are adorable!

  4. Because it's the right thing to do. You and your kids will remember the things you do, that woman's child won't smile when she thinks about the $5 box of Valentines, although she may resent being made to sign her name to every one. My daughter remembers me dropping off treats to her class and making things special. Plus, you forgot the most important reason, you're creative and your head will explode if you don't let it out.

  5. I love this post!! I am so glad I came by it! My kids are only 4 and 6 but we take the time to make all of their classmates Valentines. I am always getting strange looks and comments like "Why bother?"... even my MIL doesn't get it. I totally agree with all of your reasons and am doing my best to instill these things into my little ones heads and hearts. I remember helping my mom make special treats for our classmates when I was young... some of my best memories growing up. I hope my kids will say the same! So far so good, my 6 year old has even started making gifts to bring to birthday parties! :)

  6. By the way, I love the idea of the photos! May have to borrow that for next year!!