I have made my son several pairs of shorts and we have created t-shirts together. I knit him lovely little pants for when he was a tiny baby and I crocheted him countless pairs of booties and slippers. He has a large collection of homemade stuffed animals and dolls. He also has a few hats he requested but won’t wear because they are too scratchy. Despite all of this, lately I have been feeling like his sister receives many more handmade clothes and that there is a large discrepancy in the quality of work going into hers compared to his. Therefore, a couple of months ago I decided that I wanted to make my son something a little more special than just another pair of shorts. I decided on a button down and set our moving date as my deadline.
I managed to get the shirt made…with just a little more than a week to spare. I also pulled off a kaftan for myself. Three days ago I packed up my sewing machines and remaining supplies.
I have made jackets and one long coat, but never a button down. I would love to create patterns from scratch for my kids but I am not there yet, so I spent hours online scouring for a pattern but came up empty. It appears that barely anyone sews for boys! Unless you count shorts, of course I should have checked out professional patterns at the fabric store (which I will do for the next shirt) but out of impatience I pulled out a pattern I inherited a couple of years ago. I don’t know why I ever hung on to this pattern: it is for an extremely ugly shirt! It is oversized, boxy, and lacks any touches that might give it style. I had to completely revamp the pattern. (This took much longer than the drive to the nearest fabric store would have). I began my work by taking my son’s measurements and looking over a few button downs he already owns. Then I slashed, folded, taped and redrew the pattern. My son and I are delighted with how his new shirt turned out! Still, I think I will buy a new pattern next time.
Sewing relaxes me and gives me time to think. Before I had kids, there were aspects of sewing that I considered tedious and was never able to enjoy. Fortunately, I now love the entire process and when I sew alone in the evening, I savour the quiet time I have for reflection. Lately, I have been spending a lot of this time thinking about our move, what it will mean for us, and about what we will be leaving behind.
There have been moments when I have worried that we are not making the right decision. Moments when fears creep up, the kind of worries that exploit the unknown. All I have to do to move these fears over is to remind myself of last year’s drive home after our summer spent in Vancouver. The further we traveled away from the Pacific Northwest, the sadder I felt, until finally we drove into our own driveway and all I could feel was the sinking feeling of despair. When I am in the Pacific Northwest, I feel whole. Returning to Southern California, there is a piece of me that disappears. Others have told me how fortunate I am to have that sense of home, of knowing the right place for me. I believe they are right, I am lucky. I remember the first time I traveled to Vancouver when I was 21. On the second day, while standing in a shop on Commercial Drive, I knew that I was home. Spending time in the forests there and on the Pacific, that feeling only increased. I have tried over the years to live away from the area but I am always called to return. It is the place where I belong.
However, I have a husband and children now. I would never ask them to make this move if I thought it would be only me who would benefit. I won’t deny that I put the pressure on, but I also waited for my husband to decide for himself that this move would be the best one for our family, especially for our children.
My children will have clean air to breathe. At the present they inhale the most polluted air in the country. (I feel a bit guilty bringing this up as my children are obviously not the only children living where we are). We have found a public school that I am extremely excited about. If we stay where we are, our son would be in a wonderful private school but our daughter would be spending two hours a day in the car for that daily commute. In our new community we will all be surrounded by trees, spending every day in contact with “nature”. My youngest in particular loves to be outdoors and to explore. We will still be close to the Pacific and I fantasize about many days spent on the beach with my kids and about maybe taking some walks on my own, by myself. I am also very excited about the proximity to close friends. I left Vancouver eight years ago, but I have continued to nourish close friendships there and I look forward to spending more time with these women, and their families, that I hold so dear in my heart. My children also have friends of their own nearby who they love and have known their entire lives. It will be a gift to watch those friendships continue to unfold and grow. This move feels so right. I feel so grateful that together my family and I will be close to so much that we already love, but at the same time going somewhere entirely new to us, that together we get to head on a new adventure.
As thrilled (and I am thrilled!) as I am about moving into a new home in just over a week, I know what I will be leaving behind. This past year of homeschool hockey has been fantastic for all of us (one of my daughter’s favourite first words: “hockey”). We have discovered the magic of Orff-Schuler music lessons – I cannot imagine a better music teacher than Mrs. Danuta! What a treasure the class has been, along with the other children and parents we get to spend time with every week. And that brings me to the friendships I have made and how much we will miss some very special people here. Every time I move, it is friends that make even an eagerly anticipated move bittersweet. You know who you are and we will miss you very much!
My son’s shirt is complete and we are (almost) ready to go. I am pretty sure that every time I see my son in his shirt, I will look to both the future and the past and if I am lucky, I will be feeling settled in the present.