So I just got back from being away for nine days teaching at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion in Huntsville, AL. I had such a wonderful time, but rather than give you a recap of the whole event like I did when I taught in February, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk to you a little bit about what’s been on my mind the last few days.
Being away from my family is an internal struggle for me. My number one priority in life right now is raising my three little ones (5, 4 and almost 2 years old), being a good wife and keeping a nice home. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be where I am right now with writing this blog and having a full-on incorporated business selling sewing patterns, writing books, filming sewing DVD’s, being hired to teach sewing around the country. But here I am.
I am constantly plagued with guilt. It’s just my nature. I feel guilty if I don’t play enough with my kids, I feel guilty if my house is not spic and span when my husband comes home from work, I feel guilty that I don’t have enough time to create all the projects that I have in my head and I feel guilty being away from home…..the list goes on. These are all self-imposed expectations that I have put upon myself, but they are there in my head constantly nagging at me. And I continue to hear my mom in the back of my mind saying, ‘Just remember……..you can’t be all things to all people all of the time.’ (Whew, thank goodness for Mom, right?). But it’s still hard and I struggle.
When I had my children, the plan was for me to stay at home and raise them and for my husband to work outside the home. I am a girl who loves a plan and loves domestic life, so that sounded great to me. So when I discovered this gift of sewing after Savannah Rose was born (and I truly do believe it was a gift from God), I had no idea where it would take me. And sometimes life does not always go according to plan.
I don’t believe we should take the gifts we are given lightly. They are given to us from God for a reason. And we have two choices; to embrace them and see where they take us or put them aside. I have chosen to embrace the gift of creativity and have built a business that helps my family in a tremendous way financially, helps my children to see what you can achieve with hard work and has lead me to meet people I would have otherwise never encountered.
Which brings me to the point of why I’m writing today. This week at the Martha Pullen School I taught my regular three pre-day classes and then my four day school. The morning of the four day school an older woman came into my class, very quietly, sat down and said, ‘I may be in over my head with all of this, but I’m here’. Her name was Adaire and she seemed like she was going to be a quieter student in class. I had a smaller group of students this time during the four day school and it was the perfect environment to get to know one another. I certainly lucked out with an incredible group of women.
In getting to know Adaire, it turned out that her husband of 52 years had passed away 2-3 months prior to her coming to Martha Pullen. She began to open up to the students in class and her fun-loving, out-going personality began to show and she truly was the joy and light in our classroom. She was sewing beautifully and the darling clothes she was creating for her granddaughter, Grace, were like little works of art. The morning of our last day together, she said to the whole class that ‘After this whole experience, I finally feel like I can move on with my life and things are going to be ok, like it is the beginning of new chapter for me.’ She said her children had wanted her to go to a grievance retreat and instead she decided to come (by herself) to Martha Pullen. She said, ‘It was so nice to be able to walk around here, meet others and not have everyone say……..how are you doing? are you ok?’. She said, ‘I finally felt normal’. We all shed a few tears because you could truly see that this point in time was her new beginning.
So why am I telling you this story. I am telling you this because I believe Adaire and I were meant to be brought together at Martha Pullen. I have a different, slightly more relaxed teaching style than some of the other instructors (which isn’t a better or worse thing) and I think she was meant to take this specific school, with this amazing group of women. It’s what she needed. Had she been in another, larger, more strict class, she may not have had the support and love that she found within our group. And seeing as though I was struggling with the guilt of being away from my little ones and needed clarity as to my purpose and path, I needed to meet Adaire as she needed to meet me. It wasn’t my plan, it wasn’t Adaire’s plan, it was God’s plan.
It is a great thrill to me to have people see the pieces I create and give compliments, but it is in the connection with other sewists, the connection I have with my students, inspiring others and teaching that gives my gift greater and deeper meaning.
And though I missed my children and husband deeply during the week I spent away, I know in my heart that it was where I needed to be. I know I am on the right path and I will continue to think of a Adaire whenever guilt rears its ugly head.