My poor mom. I understand her so much better than before, now that I have kids of my own. And I find myself struggling to teach them things that she made sure were instilled in me. Unfortunately, there were a few things that just never really took, no matter HOW hard she tried. And now I wish I?d learned.
1. The right way to hold a pencil. I hold pencils with my fingers all bunched up around the tip. Always have. Probably always will. Mom tried to teach me the right way, but since I did a lot of writing outside of school (and away from her watchful eyes, like in my notebooks, sitting in a tree or an abandoned car), it was pretty much impossible to get me to keep up the fancy fingerwork and I always reverted.
Her reason: you will have better handwriting and your hand won?t get as tired. She was totally right. My handwriting is terrible. I should have been a doctor so it wouldn?t matter.
2. Follow a recipe. Sadly, my mother never succeeded in getting me to follow a recipe. From the first time I tried cooking on my own, I would experiment, change ingredients, add a little of this and a little of that . . . it drove her nuts, especially when my experiments turned out inedible! When she had to go out for the day, she would leave me a written note, with a recipe to follow, to make dinner. I never did it exactly like she said. To this day, I almost NEVER follow a recipe exactly.
Her reason: You have to learn how to cook before you can mix and match things. While I agree to a certain extent, my indie solution was to read up on ingredients and learn what they do so I could understand them well enough to switch things up.
3. Wash dishes immediately after cooking. Isn?t that a smart idea? I know it is. I even try to do it sometimes. But guess what? I happen to detest dishwashing far more than just about any other household chore, including cleaning the toilet. So most of the time, I fill the pots or bowls with water and leave it for Irving to deal with later. He?s good like that.
Her reason: I think it?s pretty obvious. You have a clean kitchen right away. Not to mention, you don?t have to deal with stuck on food. It?s a really, really good idea. Sadly, it rarely gets past that for me.
4. How to knit. Mom actually tried to teach me knitting AND crocheting and I didn?t get either one. I would get so frustrated with dropped stitches that I?d get angry with the project and toss it. This went on for years. While she did teach me tons of other crafty stuff, those were two things that never stuck. It wasn?t until I was grown and in Guatemala that I finally learned to crochet from one of my English students! I?m not an expert, but I can turn out a decent baby hat and used to make bags to sell.
Her reason: It?s a good skill to have. She was right! As usual.
5. Gardening. My mom is an amazing gardener. From the time I was very small, she had huge gardens that gave us all our fresh vegetables. I don?t recall buying vegetables in the supermarket until I was in my late teens. She would can the surplus so we always had the veggies during the winter, as well. These days, she has less time to work on the garden, but her herb garden is absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, despite having mini gardens with her supervision from the time I was about 5, I?ve never mastered the art of gardening. In fact, I think I have a black thumb. I have managed to raise some lettuce and that?s about it!
Her reason: Growing food is a very useful skill. You can feed your family and you can always sell the excess. Guess I?ll keep trying . . .