When I was growing up, my mom was an amazing seamstress. Not only did she make the majority of our holiday decorations (and there were a LOT) but she also made every single Halloween costume I ever wore. From as far back as I can remember, mom would take us to the fabric store at the beginning of every October where we’d pick out the pattern of our chosen costume. One year I had my heart set on being Rainbow Brite. I LOVED Rainbow Brite more than absolutely anything. But that costume was seriously complicated. I mean check out that girl’s sleeves! My mom made that costume and each individual color was stuffed with cotton fluff so it’d stick out. We still have it hanging in a closet somewhere because it took her so long to make. (and yes, I WILL post a picture as soon as I get home and scan one out of our old photo albums)
Thinking back on it now, so much of my childhood was shaped by my mom’s skills. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I had quite the imagination as a child. I’m sure my afternoons and weekends playing dressup would never have been as much fun without that indian princess outfit or my little house on the prairie outfit. When my sister and I became obsessed with American Girl Dolls, my parents got us our chosen dolls (I had Kirsten) but refused to get caught up in all the additional expense of all the other accessories and outfits. Why buy an outfit for a doll that costs $22 when Mom can just make one? Our dolls had the best outfits and she even made us matching nightgowns.
I can say for absolute certainty that I had NO appreciation for all of this when I was growing up. I learned some of her skills, but they were pretty much limited to sewing sequins onto Christmas ornaments for grade school teachers. She still shortens all my trousers (and as a short woman, this happens A LOT). Now that I’m getting older, I’m starting to think about my own childhood compared to the childhood that I could provide for my as-yet-nonexistent-and-completely-theoretical children. What will Halloween be like if I can’t make a home-made costume like my mom did? What about if I have a daughter and she grows up to be a short-arse like me? And what about all the Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter and Valentine’s Day decorations?! Who’s going to make all of THOSE?! I can’t make a two foot Santa Claus with his own sack of hand-made presents!
Well I did worry about that for a few minutes. I thought, well, I could learn to sew, I suppose. You know, if and when these fictional children ever do make an appearance (not at all a guaranteed event). But I’ve had twenty nine years to learn how to shorten my own trousers and I still get my mom to do it because I find it fiddly and annoying and mind-numbingly boring. It seems that if I was going to have learned to sew, it would have happened already. But then I figured, well, after all, what are grandmothers for?