I remember the first time that I noticed that I was different from the other kids. I was in the third grade at a four room country school, when someone suddenly yelled, "Floods!! Look! Look! She's waiting for a flood!"
I looked down, horrified to realize that my pants were indeed, yes that's right, "high water" pants. My face turned red as I walked away in shame and embarrassment, feeling uneasy the rest of the day.
I looked out the window that day on the bus ride home and noticed that the other houses around us had perfectly manicured lawns. They had nice cars in the driveway. There were no small pieces of trash floating in their green grass. Plus the biggie - there were no trash cans lying on the ground from yesterday that the stray dog had left behind. We were not poor, but with four kids and two middle class, hard working parents - we were not exactly on top of it financially either. And so, the envy of what I didn't have seemed in my heart to outweigh that of which I had.
I went into the house to see my mom, just home from working all day, balancing a toddler on her hip, a toddler at her ankle, a phone cord wrapped around her body, as she struggled to fix dinner and load the portable dishwasher. I couldn't tell her that her already freakishly tall daughter had just experienced another growth spurt and now needed new jeans. If I told her, she would run out to the sales rack and buy the first pair of pants in my size, which usually resulted in a less than respectable pair of ugly plaid pants that I would have to bury with the other ones under my shirts in my bottom dresser drawer. I couldn't - I just couldn't have that fight with her again. because I knew that she was right, "there was nothing wrong with them."
But, I wanted to fit in at school. I wanted what the other kids had - "cool jeans." And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks on my little head. LACE...all the other girls had lace sewn on the bottom of their jeans. We had lace! My mother dabbled at sewing, so surely there must be some lace laying around the basement by her sewing machine. As fast as I could, I raced down the stairs and rooted through her sewing things. I was ecstatic, not only was there lace, but there was also some "Holly Hobby" fabric that was really popular too.
And so, with my heavily knotted thread and needle, I began to remake my "floods" into something respectable that any third grade girl would be proud to wear. And it was in those hours of cutting, pinning, sewing, ripping out, and resewing that I learned that I could change my world with just a simple needle and thread. That if my parents couldn't afford to buy my what I wanted, I could remake what they did buy me into something spectacular. And that day, she was born....The Family Seamstress was born.
Sure, a needle and thread has not always solved all of my problems. But they have given me the ability to sit back away from the "moments" of life and reflect on what is "wanted" and what is truly "needed". It has given me the ability for a while, for just a little while, to find the peace and solace that that misfit, freakishly tall, little third grade girl had the day she proudly marched into school with her "nonflood" pants on to face a world that she could change, even if only for a moment.