Small achievements, small regrets

I’m trying to keep things small these days.  So those ambitious and beautiful patchwork velvet scarves recycled from old clothes — well, those haven’t been happening, except in my head.  The PLANS have been laid for a month now.  But apparently the downside of the otherwise-totally-awesome upcycling process is that you have to first “make” your “fabric.”  Which means cutting into something with many possible uses and which may or may not be replicable.  (I realize this is how you tell the newbies from the old hands in this work — the old hands know there’s always something else awesome out there.  I don’t, yet.)  So I agonize over the cutting and spend lots of time trying to decide whether to rip out seams or cut them out (old velvet: the answer is cut them out, because once the ripping is over, your fabric is likely to rip along the stitch line anyway).  Today, instead of beating myself up for not making the scarves, I decided to just make rectangles.  It took me much of the morning, since I was working with tailored garments, one of which even seemed to be bias-cut AND was heading toward its at-least-third life in my hands.

But now I have gorgeous, sumptuous rectangles that both babies want to get their hands all over.  Thank goodness for scraps.  (Or, according to the scared voice in my head who always promotes the logic of scarcity, I have now ruined the potential of several neat old garments.  Good thing I didn’t yet cut up that sweet little coat I’ve been considering.)

The other big achievement of the morning was finding Malachi in a still moment and snipping off his curly little mullet.  I did this with the relish (and, apparently, thoughtlessness) of someone who has been casually watching for just such a chance.  Once it came, I didn’t really ponder why I was taking it.  But take it I did, and the smallest among us now has more respectably short hair.  As I took the curls and the baby into the kitchen, replete with a strange sense of swollen, senseless grief, Len cheerfully announced: “No more first haircuts!”  and the tears spilled over.  Since then, I’ve also realized that winter in Maine is not necessarily the time to cut off a baby’s neck-warmer.  But I think I’m mostly just a loving mama who is hardwired for regret, and so this seems like a big one that I didn’t properly anticipate.

It’s like the life-management metaphor of juggling various balls: just know which are made of glass and which of rubber.  Cutting up fabric is really only ever cutting up fabric.  And basically, you could say the same thing about your child’s hair.  But when you realize that you just altered a particular way of being when you’d give your soul not to alter it, well, that’s a little painful.  And silly, of course.  I’m working on letting go of my attachment to his hair.  But I will say this: I’m looking forward to it growing back.


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