Mom began teaching me to sew at a very young age. By 14, I had grown to develop a real passion for sewing. I loved the idea of creating something I could wear from a folded piece of fabric. Because of Momís comparable love for sewing, she understood my passion and allowed me to spend countless hours sharpening those skills. As I was polishing my proficiency, my sister was polishing furniture, much to her denigration. A good deal of grumbling usually took place after meal time, when she was left scraping plates while I was allowed to continue to work on my current project.
Momís teaching came initially from the many hours I would spend simply watching her as she mastered the art of tailoring, as well as the relentless and tedious hours mending and patching of seemingly hundreds of pairs of jeans. She would almost narrate as the project progressed, instructing me in great detail, while divulging her own best secrets. I would sit and watch for hours as she sewed, stitch by stitch, seam by seam, almost effortlessly but with great precision. The old sewing machine had a sound that at the time I thought all sewing machines had. G-r-r-chum-chum-chum. G-r-r-r-r-chum-chum-chum-chum. Mom fashioned a lot of the clothes I wore then, and I would show off each garment with great pride.
In the fifth grade, I remember a red velvet dress with white lace sleeves, made particularly for the school Christmas program. I felt like Miss America on the stage that night. As I entered my teens, she kept me in fashion with several pair of bell bottom pants. One pair had a coordinating blouse she designed that would be the equivalent of Abercrombie & Fitch today. That same year I paraded a lavender crushed velvet outfit that received compliments even from the school principal!
There were many others too....dresses, slacks, tops, vests, even purses. But, one particular garment stands out from the others. In the third grade, she meticulously assembled for me a lined wool coat. At a distance, it looked brown, but up close it had several different colors. It was a small plaid with threads of orange, gold, red, green and blue running through the fabric. It was my Coat of Many Colors. I didnít call it that then, but I remember thinking about it when I heard the story in Sunday school about a young boy who had received a coat of many colors from his mother. Now I didnít really grasp the full meaning of that Bible story until several years later, but what I did understand was the time, attention and the love that went into every stitch and that the coat was especially made for me.
Mom - I thank you for the love that was poured into not only each garment, but literally everything you did. Thank you for the hours you spent not only teaching me from the talent you possessed, but for the life lessons learned through time spent together. You built so much more than just clothing. Thank you for nurturing our spiritual lives by making sure we were in Sunday school and church. Those tiny seeds planted then, God faithfully used to grow and produce good fruit that I, in turn, was blessed to share with my children as well. Thank you also for your many, unending faith-filled prayers.
The years have passed. My own children are now grown and on their own. I wish I had made for them their own ďcoat of many colorsĒ. But, then again...... maybe I already have!