Tag Archiv: sewing

Needles (Or The Story of a Sewing Kit)

Luckily, hers isn't this big.

Luckily, hers isn’t this big.

Act 1:

Girl one leaves a note with doodles on it lying around. It is summer. Still more than four months until her birthday. It says:

Dear Birthday Fairy,

I would really, REALLY like a sewing kit for my birthday.

Thank you.


Her Nana finds the note. Charmed, she buys a small sewing kit. Thread, scissors, measuring tape, tracing paper, thimble, a pin cushion, needles. The early unexpected gift is a hit. I gently discuss needles, their dangers, merits, and again, their dangers. I push the information through into the floating dreaminess of Girl one’s aura and hope for the best.

Act 2:

I find a needle on the floor, review danger speech, and offer warning.

I sit on a couch at night and find needle with my hand. I review speeches on danger and offer a stern warning. In the next 24 hours, I find more needles but it is sworn with impassioned oaths that these are a result of previous sins . . . which although not remembered or intentional were clearly committed prior to the stern warning.

Three days later, I have found more than ten needles. Entire kit is removed to my room for a time out.

Act 3:

Kit is returned. Speeches reinforced. Shortly thereafter more needles are found. Later, lying in her bed sobbing softly, she is the poster child for broken hearts.

I know others are partly to blame. And truthfully, the needle dispenser is a lousy design intended for vigilant adults with long bony fingers, not enthusiastic kids passing it around for a home grown sewing circle. I make adjustments on the dispenser and impose new rules about sharing.

Act 4:

The sewing kit lives in Girl one’s room, but the needle dispenser lives in mine. I think things are going better. Then I find a needle. An hour later, Girl one finds another one, then another.  This time the tears are a torrent.

I’m not responsible enough to have a sewing kit, she whispers. Take it. I love it so much, but I am not a responsible person. I’m not old enough to have it. (Extreme weeping) I am just not a responsible person.

Although I had been thinking all of those things, I didn’t want to say them anymore. In a moment of insanity, I said I wasn’t taking her sewing kit away.

In the world, I said, there are people who love beautiful things and people who are very practical. Mostly they are not the same people. Without the practical people, we would be hungry. We wouldn’t remember where the food was or when to buy it. But without the people who show us the beauty in the world, we would be a different kind of hungry.  Without the beautiful people, why even bother getting up for breakfast?

Girl one gave me a very grateful hug and told me that she was tired and needed to go to sleep now.

I hope the family does not soon resemble Swiss cheese. But if that’s the cost of art these days, I guess I’m in. As a nod to the practical people, the dispenser doesn’t get dispensed anymore. Just one needle to one child. At kitchen table only.

Irrelevant torpedoes



My son cannot stop creating. I don’t remember all the things he has made, although I wish someone would. Stuffed animal clothes, blankets, weapons, endless Lego worlds, transportation devices,guns, catapults, and duct tape dresses for his sister’s barbies. A week ago he spent half an hour cutting letters out of maple leaves so he could write “Happy Father’s Day/Birthday,” across the seat of the rocking chair.

He is taken again with sewing and his eye for re-purposing is very keen. We had a chicken dinner. The next morning, I found a needle made out of chicken bone. A few days ago he was carefully stitching navy thread around the edges of a Kleenex. Frustrated, I demanded the needle. My admiration for his creativity did not dent my irritation at having my needle borrowed. It had only been the night before that another ill begotten needle stolen by Girl one had greeted my shoulder as I leaned back against a couch.

Needle in hand, I proceeded to mend more wrongs on the path toward tidy and well disciplined. Half an hour later I passed by Boy two, still pouring over his Kleenex. The thought that he had retrieved yet another needle incensed me, but closer inspection revealed that he was sewing this time with thread and a nail. Gently, he would poke a hole, then set the nail aside and jimmy the thread through. Repeat. Painstakingly repeat. If anything, he was taking more joy from his nail sewing than from the needle sewing before.

Why is a good question. I had made it clear that I thought sewing a Kleenex was a waste of time, why didn’t he quit then? Why didn’t he quit when I took away the needle? We don’t own a museum, so most of what Boy two labors over is not saved. He is usually too busy creating the next thing to care. He gives away Lego masterpiece creations to people who own ten or twenty times more Lego than he does. He doesn’t care. He makes things because that is who he is and he doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think. When he’s tires of making things, he reads or plays.

Recently he brought home some pictures from art class. He showed me a picture with a B+ on the back. “I don’t know why I got that – it looked good to me,” he said and shrugged his shoulders. “Whatever.” But that was the end of it. He went unimpeded to work on his current creation because that is what he does.

Boy two needs me to make him brush his teeth and change his underwear. I need him to remind me that worrying if you’re good enough to do what you were made to do is silly. When you’re born to do something, you do it.

I am in negotiation to acquire the Kleenex with nail and the chicken needle. I want them framed. To me, they say: Be who you are to the very best that you can – the rest is chaff in the wind.