As I stand in my bedroom staring at the antique Singer sewing table my mother in law bought me, my over active brain has a random thought, “my mother in law also gave me her mother in law’s 1953, singer sewing machine, I should take that out of storage.”
I have 20 minutes before I need to leave the house to pick my daughter up from school, I can’t leave this thought alone though. I need to see that sewing machine and I need to bring it out of its retirement right that minute.
I quickly venture into our basement with a baby on my hip, and grab the machine. It’s heavy. My son is heavy. This is turning into a “thing.”
Taking it upstairs to my room, I open the box and I am immediately hit with the smell of “old.” It’s strong and hits hard. But, it’s the smell of memories and of family; I love it.
When I take it out of the box, I see that there is a spool of thread still attached. As if it is waiting for the next piece of fabric to be inserted so it can continue with it’s main purpose.
I imagine that this is the last spool of thread my husband’s grandmother ever used. It makes me feel a connection to this woman, a woman I didn’t know very well. What makes me feel comforted, is that I know she and this machine had a history together.
I decided that I wanted to display this machine in my room. It’s beautiful, heavy and black with gold detailing. It deserves to be seen and admired.
Since receiving this gift, I have been feeling guilty for not sewing with it. I know how to sew but after having my third child, time has gotten away from me. No longer am I able to spend time slaving away over a quilt while my children nap. Those days are long gone. But, having it in my room and seeing it daily, makes me feel like I am honoring it, honoring my husband’s grandmother.
Now, every time I walked past the sewing machine I catch a whiff of nostalgia, a whiff of the past. I like to imagine what it was like when she was raising her children and using this machine.
Was she a stressed out mother who worried about raising self sufficient, well mannered children? Was she afraid of making mistakes, scarring her children for life?
Or, did she do what she had to do for her family with no apologies to the rest of the world?
I imagine she did have fears, some the same as mine and the women of today. But, in a way, maybe her fears weren’t as superficial as mine sometimes feel.
The world has certainly changed since 1953. But, the beauty in this sewing machine has stayed the same.
As a busy, tired, wife and mother, I often overlook the beauty in daily life and in everyday items. It’s interesting how something so simple, so mundane can bring someone joy all these years later.