Seedlings Halloween: Missing the Boat – By Amy Wall Lerman
Halloween: Time to hit Target and Walmart or one of those Halloween megastores that open for the month of October then turn into Christmas stores and later lawn furniture shops. Oh no. Not me. That is not the way I plan to do this mommy-stuff. I will rise above the checkout lines and impulse buys head to my own craft bin. I did it last year. Evan had a costume that nobody else had because mommy made it. He was a scarecrow – the costume consisted of eBay-purchased overalls, a plaid shirt, a straw hat, plastic flowers, fake straw and three tons of hot glue.
What could he be this year? Since he loves the Disney movie “How To Train Your Dragon” and already had a Viking helmet, it seemed liked a logical solution. I went to my craft bin and pulled out yarn-entwined-with-thread-fabric-and-hot-glue-strings and decided maybe I better start afresh. No sloppy mess would stop this June Cleaver wanna-be.
Oh yeah, if you haven’t read my Perfect Mother blog entry, you may not know about my June Cleaver fantasies. Let it be said that I am no June Cleaver. First of all you’d need to have that waist-size and perfect (albeit boring) hairdo to truly fit the profile of this perfect made-for-TV-mom. That’s just for starters. But I like to take my fantasy a step further (I mean seriously, when did you ever see Mrs. Cleaver attempt to thread a sewing machine?).
So rubbing my hands together like a maniacal mad-woman, my fingers hit the keyboard and I went online (this project began at the end of August). I bought the fabric: soft cotton in a creamy beige; some fake coyote fur (in shades of grey and black), and about a yard of pleather (you know the fake leather stuff). All in all it cost me about $35. I thought that was pretty good. Mega-stores be damned.
As far as I was concerned, using a sewing machine had to be like riding a bike. I hadn’t touched, or really even seen, a sewing machine since 1998 after a brief attempt at quilting (after which no quilt was produced but I have the evidence to prove I tried). Something about the ironing and threading of bobbins just didn’t quite agree with my ADD. Perfection is not something I try to achieve in my daily life. Remember…I just fantasize about it.
So I pulled out the sewing machine my Mother-in-Law tucked away in a closet in my guest bedroom for when she visits and needs to hem her son’s new pants (yep, someone “has to”…he’s perfectly capable, but he, like me, doesn’t have the patience or time – and he’s far too stubborn to get them tailored – if mom can do it, he’s not going to pay anyone).
I really thought I had something going when I traced one of Evan’s shirts and a pair of his pants onto the cloth. They looked right to me. Then the sewing began. The machine jammed countless times until I ran out of thread. I was determined, however, and went to the store and bought more thread. (Remember when stores actually carried thread? Now you have to go to specialty stores. Who sews anymore? Oh yeah…no one).
I found my thread and started again. I was so excited that I got the pieces stitched together pretty quickly that I started using some fancy embroidery stitches around the edges of the shirt. The shirt looked amazing. The pants looked stylin’. But when I tried to put them on him, nothing fit. If he walked just the way I told him to, it would be fine.
“But mommy, I can’t bend over.”
I tried to make adjustments. And why not: I watch Project Runway. But, still too tight in all the areas that require movement.
“It’s okay, mommy, I just won’t bend over.”
Oh…how I wanted to say, “Great,” and move on, when suddenly I realized that Evan, at barely 5 years-old, had somehow managed to absorb how important this project was to me. He wanted that costume to fit because I needed it to fit. But why did I need it to fit? So I could show him off before all the other moms? Look at me, out-of-the-house-working-mom with a 60-hour work week, has time to make a costume while all of you head to the store? Hah!
“Evan,” I said, trying to hide any semblance of defeat, “What do you want to be for Halloween?”
“A Viking,” he replied.
“Do you really want to be Spiderman?”
A long pause.
“Mommy, I know, I will be Spiderman at home and a Viking for Halloween.”
And suddenly I was on the checkout line. I got the Spiderman costume. I got the Spiderman gloves; the mask; a hat; the wrist lights. If Spiderman himself had been there I would have stuffed him in the truck of my car – or at least gotten his autograph. I even got a big ol’ plastic orange pumpkin and a glo-stick. We’re all set.
I’m still going to finish that stinkin’ Viking costume though because, after all, that part of it was always about me.
Amy Wall Lerman, Editor of the Motherhood Later Than Sooner eZine, Baby Bloomer, is a television news producer and writer. She is the author of several books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Critical Reading and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Family Games. Her poetry has been published in an online literary journal and she maintains her own blog called Dodillydo. Amy lives in New Jersey with her husband and 4-year old son.