The summer came faster than we anticipated, as always. This time, however, our poor planning came at a time when Sophia, my youngest, was graduating from a beloved school. Shaker Road School is the independent school where both of my girls were nurtured and taught by teachers who embody all the best in what we call an "educator." Despite the occasional, "Sophia, please give some thought to teacher gifts," that I shot at her while racing her from something to something else in the car, we never came up with the thoughtful, heartfelt offerings I had imagined. I do remember suggesting home-made, sewn gifts, but she rejected those as gifts from me, not us. I am now having a hard time seeing the difference.
There is a better me whom I imagine...an organized, accomplished, worldly, socially "appropriate" me, one with patience and poise, and that's the me who would have had those gifts ready to be delivered, with letters expressing our gratitude and the meaning of their contributions to our children's lives. That "me" remains in my imagination, and much to the chagrin of my poor husband, she will remain so for the foreseeable future. Benjamin Franklin had a system for becoming the better man he envisioned. It involved daily reminder cards that he carried in his pocket to prompt himself to aspire to greatness. It's all spelled out in his autobiography, but you have to read through the whole tedious thing to get to that useful part. By the time I got there, he had tried my nerves and I was thinking him insufferable. Now, perhaps a decade after reading it, I wonder if he had just touched too many of my inadequacies and was having a "Martha Stewart" effect on me, (you know, the person so accomplished and creative that you search for reasons to dislike, where disdain is interchangeable with awe.)
So, I'm going to choose a collection of my quilts that are good enough for gifts to these esteemed educators, and I'm going to make labels and give them away. It's about time.