Wednesday, May 2, 2012

what the heart wants

for 11 years, since the birth of my first baby, i’ve been using the same midwives. it’s a solid 45 minutes from my home, but i’d cheerfully drive to the ends of the earth for a midwife i love. (can i get an amen from my fellow midwife junkies??)

down the street from their cozy office is a small fabric shop—sew smart. i’m not sure when it opened, but i’m pretty sure it was there through both of my last pregnancies. every time i drove past it i would think next time i’m up here i’m stopping in there. and in all the approximately 1.6 million times i’ve driven past it in the last 4 years i never once did so.

i had a checkup with my blood pressure doctor this week (yup, still dealing with that) and it was just elliot and i. 45 minutes of driving for literally 5 minutes with the doctor: bp looks good, keep it up, maybe try to lose 10-15 lbs and you can taper off the meds. see ya in 9 months.

thanks for that.
so we killed two birds with one stone and i finally finally got to sew smart.

Sew smart

from the minute i opened the door of sew smart i was sew smitten. ;)

it was the kind of fabric shop i dream of. it was like the cheers of fabric shops—i wanted the happy women staffing the register and cutting table to turn and say “hi shannon!” it was filled with row after row of moda and robert kaufmann and michael miller fabrics…neatly arranged like a rainbow from floor to ceiling. invisible zippers in every shade of the rainbow and buttons—oh the buttons! the back half had a roomy workshop, obviously well used for classes and sewing groups.

absolutely smitten.

but as i walked from bolt to bolt…running my hands over and pulling out first one, then another…and then putting them back…i couldn’t help but think.

the heartmy heart--wants this sewing shop—with knotty pine floors and wooden shelves of gorgeous designer cottons.
the brain says i need yardage that doesn’t cost $9-12 or more. the wallet says i need the fluorescent lights and linoleum floors and 40% off coupons of other stores.

the heart wants to take 45 minute drives down winding country roads to the tree-lined streets of small hipster-filled towns and kitschy stores…where i can take my handmade-clothing-clothed babes and earth-friendly reusable bags to purchase my pretty, pretty fabrics.
the brain (and the gas budget) say i must stick to the 10 minute drive to jo-ann’s. or—even worse—the 2 minute drive to walmart, where i dash in and grab spaghetti for dinner, t-shirts for jeremy, jeans for guinevere, oh-and a 9” white zipper because, well, it’ll do.

the heart really, really wants high quality cottons by famous names with trendy patterns.
the brain says it talked to the pocketbook—and the places you can afford to shop at don’t offer those things too much.


sewing serves many functions for me—it’s a hobby, it’s a way to express my creativity, and it’s a money saver. but that last one comes with a caveat--like many past times—it can easily become a money gobbler. and with five growing children there isn’t much money in the budget for gobblers of any sort.

it’s an odd sort of conundrum—with four girls and one boy to clothe, i can (and have) find fabric for $1.50 or $3 a yard and suddenly i have a great bargain! the houndstooth dresses i made last year, for instance—i spent about $35 total to dress all four of my girls—4 dresses, 2 velvet capes, 1 headband, 3 fascinators, and a bowtie for the boy.

but fall in love with the wrong fabric and just like that you’ve spent $35 on 2 yards—which won’t get you very far on four bodies…no matter how tiny.
so i wandered through the racks of fabrics at sew smart over and over—deciding to allow myself to pick one yard of one fabric that i truly couldn’t find elsewhere.


and as i began my drive home (down winding country roads) i got to thinking how sometimes that really is just how life goes.

maybe the heart wants a houseful of rowdy kiddos and chubby-kneed babies.
but the body says sorry, no can do.

maybe the heart wants to move to uncharted territories, exploring and preaching and drinking deeply of life.
but the family commitments say sorry, you’re staying put.

maybe the heart wants to eat organic, locally sourced healthy foods for every single meal, every single day.
but the hectic life and the pocketbook say nice in theory, not gonna happen.

but it’s okay, you know? because we take what we can, and we mix it with our $2 fabric, and together we weave a beautiful garment.

that’s the real fabric of our lives. hehe

is it silly to find a metaphor for life in a fabric shop? maybe. but i’m okay with that.
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  1. I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing! It really spoke to me and my current situation. :)

  2. Yeah. About as silly as me getting all teary reading this. :)

  3. I think you just said, very eloquently, what we all feel and know to be true. Thanks for saying it.

  4. Reconciling what the heart wants with what must be is one of the hardest things to do. I think it's the true test of our adulthood, to accept what cannot be. The true test of our invention is in envisioning what might be instead. I'm still working on it.
    And woot! from a fellow midwife devotee.

  5. Very well said! For me the hardest part can be figuring out what my heart really wants. Sometimes it's like it speaks a totally different language. So kudos for really listening to both your heart and your mind/body/chocolate cravings/ect.

  6. lovely thoughts, girls. thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Wow, I have been thinking along these lines for a while now but you just put it all together for me, Thank You!

    I just found your blog and I'm loving poking around. I too have 1 boy and 4 girls I love finding other families like ours!


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