Saturday, July 07, 2012


Once, when Big Boy was barely two years old, he stumbled on his short, chubby toddler legs into my sewing space and began to make his way around the room, stopping every few steps to point at some forbidden item and shout, in the loudest meanest tone his precious little voice could muster, "NOT YOURS!"

As I so often am, I was mortified.  While his tiny timbre couldn't actually pull off intimidating, it was my own threatening tone I heard thrown back at me.  I realized in that moment how many times, just desperate for a few minutes sanity, I had tried to hole up and sew when all he wanted was a little attention.  Even then, he wasn't terribly demanding -- not nearly as demanding as I thought at the time.  He just wanted to be with me.

From that day on, every time I emptied a spool of thread, I placed it on the bottom row of my wall-mounted thread tree.  I scooted a chair underneath it, so he could reach those empty spools.  Forever more, he would have something in my sewing room specifically for him -- just him -- to play with whenever he wanted.  (I gave him a couple of bobbins, too, until he dropped them into the heat register to see what would happen.)  

Now I long to reclaim those days.  Already, time has marched out of control.  At five years old, he doesn't play with the spools anymore.  He definitely still makes me a little crazy when I'm trying to concentrate, but more than ever, he just wants to be a part of the process.  These days he likes to hold the pin cushion and dutifully hands them to me as needed.  He wants to help with anything I'll let him near.

A few days ago, I smoothed the blocks of an in-progress baby quilt up on my design wall and played around with the placement until I got them "just so."  (You know that moment of zen when you find the state of deliberate randomness.)

Two days later, I walked into the sewing room to find Big Boy busy at work.  "Look Momma!  I helped you organize your fabric!"  The entire quilt had been deconstructed on the design wall and organized into neat, color-coded groupings.  He was so unabashedly, winningly proud.

Three years ago, I would've totally freaked.  Now I just shrug, laugh and tell him, "Yeah, buddy, you did a great job!"  Because, really, there's no harm done.  Lately, every time I lament how often the kids impede my concentration, the knowledge that he starts all-day kindergarten in the fall creeps in and I'm filled with a far different emotion than the frustration that kicked it off.  I'm realizing now that if I don't share some of these joys with him and find a way to make him and Bitty Boy part of the process, I'm going to miss out on a joy far greater than that of completing a quilt.  Next week, I think I'll set aside time to do the activities outlined by Deborah over at Whipstitch.  I'm enchanted by her ideas for introducing children as young as 2 and as old as teens to sewing, and the powerful life lessons we can all learn from the process.   I get all misty just thinking about doing these silly little activities with my boys.

I can only hope that I haven't waited too late to start appreciating how fleeting is the childhood of my children. My oldest son is so beautiful and thoughtful...sigh...and big.  Where did the time go?


  1. Oh my - 5 years old?! Where does the time go? Danny and I were talking someday-kids this morning, and I was charmed to read your story. :)

  2. I still get Calvin and Trevor, now 22 and 18, to play with me in my studio every once in a while. Even if it's for a couple of minutes, it makes my heart sing.

  3. @Katrina: Yep, 5. Can you imagine? I don't know why, but I've had a really sappy week of thinking how much I've missed, even though I've been right here. I'm sure that sounds silly, but it just seems like time is getting away so quickly.

  4. @Tina: I remember you getting Calvin to help you sort strips into colors with you the last time I came to visit. I thought that was too cool. :) You're doing something right if your 22 y/o will help you sort fabric.


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