28 Mar 2014
She has a powder blue plastic sewing basket which lives in a cupboard near the stove. A clear tray rests on the top with little compartments housing nobble headed pins, cottons and unused thimbles; there is always hat elastic and a rusty old pair of pinking shears. And underneath a life time's full of dressmaking accoutrements is the mending pile.
On a rainy afternoon my Mum makes a cup of tea and settles herself into the corner lounge chair and threads her needle. Her quiet labour breathes life back into my Dad's worn and already patched boilermaker pants. She darns the knees time and again and when they finally resemble a scarecrow's garb she cuts unscathed squares to put away for patches in new pants. The metal button tin, a simple and enthralling childhood toy, is also ferreted about in to match a missing button. It is an at times tedious task but one she has performed for as long as I can remember. And it is with this gentle industry she taught me to mend and make do.
My wardrobe cleanse was not only very therapeutic but most revealing, and my mending pile grew high as a result. Jeans barely worn because they were too long, a floaty white dress that was adored in all ways save the puffed sleeves, a maxi skirt that dragged on the ground and wispy blouses overlooked simply because the hooks and eyes needed repair. Mending, not terribly challenging and requiring not much more from me than time.
And so today while the rain steadily falls outside I will pay homage to my Mum's beautiful ways. The kettle is boiled and it is time to thread my own needle. A quiet domestic task; re-using and recycling at it's most simple.