Sometimes I see great parallels between life and my mending pile. I learned to darn and hem as a Girl Scout. I was never very good at either. My hems improved when I came to understand that those enormous stitches easily got snagged and pulled and snapped and had to be re-done. <sigh> In those days of skirts and dresses and uniforms and years of changing hem lines, I had lots of practice. But, I was never
a perfectionist never skilled.
Fast forward to when I married into a family with a rich inheritance of needlewomen. I knew his aunt had taught needlework skills but I was not really interested in learning then. Aunt Dolly curtained my house with her skills at the machine I borrowed then dressed my little one in crochet and smocked dresses and warmed us with afghans. I still didn’t ask her to teach me. She was busy and I did not think I would be an apt pupil.
When I was growing up, my mom was quite particular with the few hand worked items that she had. The beautiful crocheted tablecloth crafted by my Grandmother was always covered by heavy plastic when on the dining room table. So I was quite shocked to take my toddler to dinner at my Mother-in-law’s home and find embroidered or appliqued tablecloths on the table – without protection. Nana never blinked at a spill, it was never a problem. (I wish I knew her cleaning secrets.) There was one tablecloth that captivated me. Just before she passed away, my precious sister-in-law gifted me with it. Just as pretty as I remembered, grown softer with wear and washing and with a small hole. You would always see the hole. The eye would see it immediately and the beauty of the whole would be ignored.
Sometimes it takes courage to mend a hole. I hesitated, did research, asked “experts”, got lots of different advice, but in the end, I’m the one who had to face the sad dilemma of poor darning skills to mend it. So a patch would be needed. I spent too much time searching my stash of misfit linens for a piece with the same look and feel. I thought about square vs. round – anything to keep from doing the work.
Sometimes life can be that way too. I inherit or create my own hole in the fabric of life… I try to figure out what to do to make it whole again… Knowing how clumsy and inept my efforts will be, I put it off…
The day finally came. I took courage, sized the patch, cut it and prepared it, stabilized the hole, oriented the grain line, threaded the needle and got to work making the tiniest stitches I am capable of sewing. Start to finish – 30 slow minutes. Yes, it’s a patch, yes, it shows, yes, it’s ok. In the grand beauty of Grandmom Weger’s applique and embroidery, no one will care and I think she would be happy to know we still treasure her work. I’m still captivated by it. And in real time and space, you won’t notice it – or maybe you would and realize how much someone cared to make it whole again.
Life is a captivating treasure. Wear and tear can happen. While I must consider well what to do, I must not wait long to repair, to mend so that the beauty of the whole can be seen. I’m looking to see what else is in the mending pile…