In my planner for February is this quote:
Relationships are the fabric of our lives. They should be treasured every day, but sometimes we get caught up in the stresses of life and forget to express gratitude to those we love most. How can you show more appreciation and kindness this month?
This notion of relationships as fabric captivates me. Fabric is made of woven or knitted fiber. Some fabrics are delicate. Some are strong. Fabric can tear. I remember a skirt I bought as a teenager when I started making some steady money of my own. High-waisted, flared, houndstooth, almost ankle length. Tons of fabric. It hung in rippling folds, fabulous in its 1980s way. I adored it. I was wearing the skirt, and hadn’t had it long, on the day I knelt in the floor to pick something up and inadvertently stepped on it with my high heel, which tore right through the fabric when I stood up…rrriiiiiip.
A six-inch tear in the lovely houndstooth, to my horror. I might have cried (I cannot recall) but I wasn’t ready to pitch the glorious skirt.
I brought it to my mother.
She was a seamstress who worked for a major department store. She tailored men’s suits, fitted bridal gowns (“these girls want the dresses completely remade”), and took in sewing at home. Many a night she spread fabric across the kitchen table, pinned patterns, marked and cut the cloth with sharp scissors, a rhythmic snip-snip-snip. She made several stuffed animals, like mice and precious long-eared bunnies with a wardrobe of changeable clothes. Her work was stellar; everyone said so…
“Mom, can you fix this?”
I handed her my voluminous, mutilated skirt.
She considered the rip, held it closed with her fingers, puffed on the cigarette clamped in her lips.
“I can try.”
She fixed it. Not like I’d imagined. The stitching was bulky and obvious. “I had to go over it more than once,” she explained. It looked as big as a train track to me. Like the garish stitching on the Frankenstein monster’s brow.
I loved that skirt. I’d paid too much money for it to just throw it away. Maybe I was expecting magic…
I wore it anyway, hoping the long folds in the natural draping of all that fabric would hide the ugly scar. Most people never noticed, but I knew it was there.
Relationships are the fabric of our lives.
Fabric can tear. It can be mended, but it won’t be exactly as it was before the ripping.
So it is with relationships. We wear the scars in hidden places. How much could be avoided by careful attention and mindfulness in the first place…especially if we value a relationship…
Sometimes we get caught up in the stresses of life and forget to express gratitude to those we love most. Show more appreciation and kindness…
This goes a long way in preventing the ripping, the unraveling.
In every relationship, great or small.
The thing about relationships:
they never really end. They are
with us, always within us, inextricable as the
silkworm’s thread to silk fabric,
forming the infinite intricacies of our
days, our stories, our lives.
with thanks to the Slice of Life community at Two Writing Teachers
and the relationships forged by sharing our stories