I have vivid memories from age three or four, of sitting on the floor at my grandmothers’ knee, inspecting and organizing her thread and sewing notions while her machine hummed steadily along above me. Recalling these memories, I float back in time and can still smell the home she and my grandfather lived in for so many years until they were forced to move due to her illness. I can still feel the love that lived there and hear her sweet voice singing “Mr. Froggie Went a Courtin” to me as I played.
My mother sews too, proficiently. I can remember filling her coffee cup for her many times while she feverishly sewed for others in her “off” time. In her “on” time, she was a full-time legal secretary in a large downtown Dallas law firm. She often made designer suits for herself that rivaled any of the attorney’s wardrobes, while somehow finding the time to make dresses for me as well. I can remember, even at age 10, being astonished at her skill.
Now, I sew in my off time too. It’s a hobby I’ve picked up off and on since first learned in Home Ec at around age 12. Most recently, I picked it up again about this time last year. I bought a sturdy little machine and made Hope some princess castle jammies with white fur trim. Since then, I’ve made quilts, coasters, place mats, table runners and scarves. Mostly, I’ve made gifts. I can sew pretty well but am not, however, gifted. My projects are never perfect and I do not re-do them in an attempt to make them so. For the most part, I am just thoroughly satisfied that each one is made with my heart as much as it is my hands. Sewing brings me joy and that’s enough of a motivation for me to keep doing it.
I love everything about it. I love choosing the fabrics, taking them home and piecing them together, and then showing Hope and my husband, Larry, as I make progress. I love giving Hope scraps and letting her “sew” next to me. Most of all, I love that moment when my foot hits the power pedal, the fabric starts to feed and the machine starts to purr. It is in that split second, that starting right in the center of my heart, I feel the thread of connection. I can literally sense my grandmother’s spirit and see myself in Hope as she sits at my feet. I can feel my mother near, telling me she thinks the fabric is beautiful.
I square my shoulders, push the fabric through, and am filled with pride at this particular thread of motherhood I’m weaving into the fabric of Hope’s life. I imagine how in 30 years, Hope too will have these fond memories and despite the passage of time and never having met her, she will come to know her great-grandmother. Then, quietly, I am reminded that it will not just be in sewing that she comes to know her, but in all the countless ways and manners of mine that were once hers, and are my mother’s. Humbled, I start stitching the pieces together, grateful, for these threads.
Cara is a displaced Texan who is a full time prosecutor for the long arm of the law. It is law and order on the home front too, as she and her police Lieutenant husband proudly parent a bright, sweet little princess sassy pants, 3 year old Hope. When she is not making sweet tea for Hope or teaching her how to properly apply eyeshadow, Cara enjoys quilting, reading mystery novels and playing with Addie and Brandon, her dogs.