Make and Mend

I’ve said it before: I would be free to make myself more nice things if only I didn’t have to spend so much time repairing the torn knees of my small children’s pants.

So why do I bother?  Why fix it when it’ll just get broken again, when it’s cheap to replace, when I have other things to do?

Well, because it’s easier to add a quick patch to a garment than it is to find a replacement that would float in the Pool of Standards.

Because it’s important for children to know– not just academically, but experientially– that things can be fixed.

Because I HATE to throw things out, especially things that might still be useful.

Because I’m cheap and selfish, and even if I could get a new pair of pants at the Target for $9, I would rather use a scrap leftover from another project and spend that money on something I really need later.  Like chocolate.

Because, having raised children in a house with a mending basket, I am now the proud mother of smalls who delightedly point out holes in their clothes and start rattling off their grand scheme for the repair’s design before I can even see the damage.

Because there’s nothing more childlike than patched knees above dirty feet.

Because if I buy a new $9 pair of pants every time a hole shows up, that’s at least five new pairs of pants in EACH size for EACH child I raise– and that adds up fast.

Because going to the Target means getting all worked up about the needless and harmful gender dichotomy in children’s clothing.  Again.

Because I love a good puzzle and I love a good treasure hunt, and mending something well and with just the right materials can be both.

Because I can look at the patches and the fixes and the incongruous thread colors in years to come and remember the growing, and the running, and the exploring that destroyed those knees and seats and hems.

Because mending my child’s clothes gives me time, in the depths of the night, to work a little magic and say a few blessings into the seams.

Because mending takes ordinary, boring basics and elevates them to one-of-a-kind bespoke work.

Because I’m trying to raise children who understand that human time and effort go into producing and distributing everything in our home.

Because really looking at how the people in my life wear things out tells me so much about who they are and how they live.

Because it feels good to empty the mending basket.  Even if I’m just futilely struggling against entropy, scoring points here and there with small accomplishments like finishing the mending goes a long way toward making me feel like I’m making a difference.