Susan's Blog

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Day of Purpose

Typing away on the big old Dell…
Of course, the lack of Precious frees me up so much (when God closes a door, He opens a window, or Windows, as the case may be).

So yesterday was a Boys day. Max had been sick Friday night, (unbeknownst to Ned and me, who were at the Ben Folds concert at the Orpheum Theater downtown. Ben Folds is Ned’s favorite. I love him, too. He’s a very angry piano-rocker, of the Elton John/Billy Joel mode, but for this generation. Listen to “Landed,” and you will know what I mean.

We were, of course, the oldest people in the theater. No matter, we made friends with the kids next to us. We were just loving the tunes, as the youngsters say, when the worst thing that can happen to parent out on the town happened: the cell phone buzzed, and it read: “Home.”

We could not hear so finally I had to run, run, run, outside, screaming into the phone, “What? Max, text us, okay?” I get the text: i threw up.
We determined how he now was, and what to do. He was okay after the one episode, thank God.

Next day was, therefore, a day to be home (no friends or girlfriends). We decided it would be a costume day for M and B. Max needed a long, voluminous brown cape. Ben, a Kafei costume. We looked at cosplay. com and found a forum that explained how to make a pikachu-like mask out of model magic. Ben and I figured out the rest, and off we went to Joanne fabrics, the four of us, to find stuff.

For Ben’s, I had already bought some blue sweats, a blue top, and a white top, all to cut up into the shapes of the costume. At the fabric store we bought interfacing to stiffen the decorative flaps on the top; fabric paint to decorate, a plain plastic mask and model magic, brown felt for the yoke of the top, and a purple wig that we would style later on. “Are you sure you know how to do that, Mom?” Ben kept asking at each step of the operation. “Cause, no offense, I’ve seen some of the stuff you make.”

It was decided that Ned would make the mask with him.

I then bought a “simple” McCall’s pattern and 7 yeards of fabric for Max’s cape, which spilled like a river of brown corduroy, spreading all the way from the entry hall to the livingroom. Max cut out the pattern pieces from the tissue paper and had his first introduction to the strange and archaic language of sewing. “Why do they use such delicate paper?” and “This is utterly incomprehensible!” and “What is a nap?” and so on. He kept saying that “the virtual world is so much better than the real, physical world,” which alarmed me. “What are you going to be, a hermit?” I asked. “It’s true, this world is not perfect. But in the virtual world, you can’t touch something…” Then I let it drop, and just now I remembered when Max was a toddler and how he would refuse any cookie that had the slightest imperfection: “I want the fixed one,” he would say. So, okay, I get it.

But sewing is strange, and yet it is wonderful. You start with this mass of flat fabric, and as you lay out and pin and snip, you start to get shapes that are more manageable and that make sense. I told him about how when you sew, you can call upon the Spirit of Irving to help you. He smiled at that. My Grandpa Irving Senator was a tailor, and he could make the most beautiful alterations. He fixed anything, using the tiniest scraps of thread, or “cotton,” as he called it, letting not a thing go to waste. He would sit at my fancy sewing machine, and turn the wheel by hand, which is the way his old machines worked, and I would tell him over and over that the wheel only went one way and it was powered by a motor. “See, Grandpa?!” I’d ask in a barely-controlled panic. He’d nod and then do it his way. But actually the machine never broke.

I showed Max how the pieces would fit together, and suddenly he started saying how he was going to have a huge awesome cape. We decided to stop when all the pieces were cut — even though Ben wanted to continue onto the painting and the gluing and the making of the bell sleeves of his costume. I told him you have to stop when you’re tired or you start to make mistakes.

We all settled down to watch some stand-up comedy on Comedy Central, all of us content that it had been a day of purpose and success.


i was also at the Ben Folds show – i love seeing other adults digging Ben. 🙂 i’m glad your son was feeling better!
i am now inspired to do a costume day with my daughter – she’ll LOVE that!
( a new reader by way of Universal Hub)

— added by jenne on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 10:56 am

You, my dear, are one awesome mother!

— added by Donna on Monday, September 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm

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