Saturday, October 22, 2011

Costume Ballroom

We had some friends over for dinner last night. Andrew started a big discussion on going to ballroom tonight, as it was also a costume party. He has been thinking about this for weeks. In the midst of the party he asked a few people how hard it would be for him to make a costume instead of buying one. Everyone pretty much suggested the same thing I did- just buy one Andrew- it is way more work than you realize.It is just too late in the day. Andrew remained stubbornly undeterred. 

You would think I would get used to this quality after 17 years, but it still catches me off guard. I wonder so often what will become of Andrew and then he does something that completely surprises me and reminds me I am merely a guardian of his destiny and not the final arbiter. As the night was ending Andrew asked if he could run to the store to pick up a few things with his brothers. I agreed. About 10 pm he came back and started asking more questions about making a costume. I told him he should have done this much earlier and there was simply "NO WAY" he could accomplish what he wanted at this point in time. While Fred and I were unwinding for the evening, he came up carrying a box. Inside was our sewing machine. He then asked me if I could help him set it up. I once again told him he was in over his head. Being who he is, he turned to his father. Fred very adamantly insisted I was right.

Andrew turned and asked me one more time if I would just show him how to thread the machine. I was suddenly transported back in time to the age of 17 when I asked my mother if she would buy me some material so I could make a dress. She reacted the exact same way I had tonight. I stubbornly did it anyway. It did not and would not have stopped me from trying. It is not in my nature to give up once I get an idea in my head. (Apparently Andrew has some of my qualities.)Once I had this epiphany I walked to the sewing machine and explained to Andrew it took a lot to thread it and that Fred could probably figure out the mechanics of winding a bobbin for us both. Reluctantly we both did our small part and then stepped back.

As you would expect Peter and JP and Matty all did their best to razz Andrew asking if he wanted to join a sewing circle. Andrew, very good naturedly laughed along with them and kept on stitching. It did not even phase him slightly. This morning he woke up and started in again. By this morning all my biases and negativity had passed. I watched Andrew who has never had a sewing lesson in his life use a machine as if he had been doing so his entire life ( Apparently he also has some of Fred's qualities). At one point I asked him matter-of-factly, how he knew to turn the pieces  inside out in order to get a good seam? He told me when we lived in Vermont ( he was 8 at the time) a neighbor had told him that when she knit socks she always did it inside out so the seams wouldn't show- he figured that must apply 'to all clothes making' as it made more sense to him that way. By the end of today he had sewn an entire costume. 

He had called on our friend  Nia who had been at dinner last night to ask advice about some of the design details, she also had told him when he initially asked that "sewing machines are not magic- you can't put in fabric and get out a costume!" Today when she came down to help, she too stood watching him a bit awe-struck and finally said "Andrew sewing machines are not magic, but you Andrew, you are magic!" and I felt the exact same way. It may not have been perfect, but it was far better then anything I could ever have done with or without a machine. It was so cool to watch Andrew take a machine he had never used before and know HOW to use it so instinctively. I hope he and his brothers have fun tonight. I know it is a night I won't personally forget for a very long time.


  1. Ellie, I am amazed, but shouldn't be. Andy is awesome. You are so blessed with such wonderful and talented children. I wish I could have seen his masterpiece!

  2. I still cant believe he really made the costume himself!!! ...and I actually watched him do it... Magic!

  3. Did he have a pattern to follow? I am AMAZED at this.

  4. I cannot say that I am the least bit surprised, as Andrew (at the ripe old age of FIVE) was helping me figure out how to hook up my VCR to my TV! I knew Andrew for his younger years the best so far, and always noted his affinity for machines, details, and steadfastness.
    I am PROUD! and even more proud as I get to know him.