I spent a fair amount of time today mending sleeping bags. They needed it, but I would have preferred to have done it on a different day. It was a very muggy 97 degrees here, and my home is decidedly not air-conditioned, so tugging and pulling on massive mounds of poly- or down-filled fabric was not my idea of fun.Now what would prompt me to do this task on such a sunny but sultry afternoon? One of my kids, of course! As he left for work he announced that he is heading up to the lovely Minnesota North Woods this weekend to camp with friends. Would I mend the sleeping bags, as the campers are leaving first thing in the morning tomorrow?
Sure, I could have said no. Perhaps I should have. After all, he sews nicely and could have done this himself. Or at the very least he could have told me that they needed repair after their last use. But then, he is working hard, and rarely goes off with friends. The clincher for me, however, was the thought that I will have the house to myself this weekend!
There I was, rummaging through the bags looking for tears, and sewing away. Suddenly I was struck by all the things I have sewn for my sons over the years. Sure, many are pretty standard things that moms sew for sons. Baby quilts, cute little baby clothes (boys are not as much fun as girls on that front,) countless rounds of striped tee shirts, dozens of mended items, Halloween costumes, and so on. I started to try to count the items I have sewn for them, but fortunately could not stay with that task in my heat-induced sewing stupor.There was a spell of silly play things, often sewn with a good friend who lives on creative overdrive. (Hi, You!) She made armor and helmets out of shiny fabrics. Together we stitched puppy hats and magician capes. I made soft books and various play blankets. The boys loved them all, and probably thought that everyone had a mom who showered them with such delights. To add to the fun, one son at age three pretty much decided that he WAS a puppy, and wore his doggie mask hat everywhere. Crawling down the grocery store aisle yipping at customers, he got more pats on the head than scowls. It was amazing to see how well he communicated without words, captivating his audiences. I suspect a ton of strangers thought that I was a rather weird mother. The boys think it is good thing that I have very few pictures from this stage.
And suddenly they were bigger, older, fiestier, and the need for super cool skateboard shorts came about. Gaudy fabric was stitched into baggy Bermuda shorts by the dozen. This is when I decided that they needed to learn to sew some shorts by themselves. Which they did!In between, there were things like “wicked witch legs” complete with red shoes, great fun to stick in many places. Or hammocks for boys, parachutes for GI Joes, super-hero capes, my friend stitched a Viborg (don’t ask) that lived with us for decades, juggling toys, and even doll clothes.
I worked at a college, and one of the students from Senegal brought me some fun cottons from her homeland. The former puppy dog child grabbed some up, stitching shorts and a matching shirt that he lived in until every seam burst. The wonderful cottons that felt like a summer dream were a lot of fun, in colors and patterns that no one else had.
The ‘last minute’ theme seems to have been established early too! The other son, not planning to go to Prom, came home the day before with fabric for a dashiki and pants. A friend had just split with her beau, but still wanted to go to the dance, and asked him to go ‘for the heck of it.’ Between us, we turned out a unique set that included a tuxedo ribbon stripe down the legs. Not your typical Prom attire.
Many friends are sewing for their grandchildren these days. I will gladly do that one day myself, but am in no rush. Besides, it seems that I still have some sewing projects for sons on the horizon, and that is fine with me. I have heard a rumor that the tiny shreds from one original baby blanket is found under the pillow of one son now grown to be a man. Hard to beat that for appreciation!
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