An alteration? Oh, what a pain. Somebody, spare me. Please.
Despite my chronic aversion to sewing, I offered to take in my grandson’s sweatpants, a Christmas gift from me. They gapped at the waist, and the store couldn’t reorder the correct size. Plus . . . he LOVED them.
He would try them on again; I’d mark the potential tucks.
However, three layers of thick fleece and wide elastic resisted my pins. How would I shove a needle through an inch of fabric? Personal punctures seemed inevitable. Actual pain.
While procrastinating for six weeks, I read there are nine types of fleece, and only one of them, merino wool fleece, involve sheep. For the eight other types, manufacturers meld polyester and recycled plastics with strategic air pockets, sometimes adding natural fibers like cotton or hemp. Voila! Wonder wear: heat-trapping, breathable, wind- and water-resistant, lightweight, long-lasting, affordable, and non-fraying.
There was a lot to read about, which conveniently suited my reluctance to get to work. Unexpected notes of birdsong embroidered the chill beyond my window.
I also read “The Latin root word for ‘rapture means stitch and sing.”*
That fired my imagination.
My mom, genius seamstress and shy soprano, used to say, “A song makes the jobs we don’t like go faster. And better.” She insisted we sing rounds during chores.
Jogged by memories, I carried the oversize sweatpants into my doctor’s waiting room. I still dreaded starting, and failing — possibly bleeding. But my winsome lad is a kid made for cozy. Would I covertly sing?
Well. Every chair was full. The people in them already looked pained.
A tune did not arise in my heart. Not even a hum. But I sensed a solidarity with my mom, and with people, worldwide, who mend and alter. A flush of warmth — beyond the plush fibers I held — pulsed through me, as if a hand of blessing had touched my shoulder in passing.
I threaded my needle and pierced the tripled layers with ease. Something peevish within me relaxed. I settled into the gladness of keeping my word. Being of service.
And the stitches held, like musical thirty-second notes carefully placed, adding up to something worth singing about: an alteration . . . in me.
Are you delaying a needed alteration? What kind of mindset might help you get started?
You might also enjoy: “Lucky: Shelf Life, Third Edition” (Mom sews my prom dress)
Or “Resilience” (the art of mending medieval parchment . . . and more)
*Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Mark Nepo
Photo by Lisa Woakes on Unsplash