The Velvet Tradition

The Velvet Tradition

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

The Velvet Tradition

We are all like one-winged angels. It’s only when we help each other that we can fly.

Luciano de Crescendo

“Mom, help, the Christmas pageant is tonight! Emily just gave me the note this morning. She had left it in her desk,” cried my daughter Jen frantically. “Can you meet me somewhere down the coast and bring the coat?”

“Of course,” I replied. The thought of driving in the heavy morning traffic of the Christmas season was not pleasant, but we agreed to meet in exactly two hours.

As I drove along, I thought of our conversation just weeks before. Jen had come over to celebrate her daughter Emily’s sixth birthday. That evening I had taken her into the bedroom and carefully pulled the black velvet coat out of the trunk. Her eyes had lit up, “You still have that coat Grandma made! I remember I wore it for Christmas when I was seven.”

“Yes,” I said. “It’s still a beauty, considering it’s age, and I want Emily to wear it for her Christmas play.” I opened the coat to show her the detail work on the white quilted lining and let her feel the heaviness of the real velvet. “Your grandmother was a wonderful seamstress,” I beamed.

I was amazed how proud I was of my mom’s work, considering the fact I had never really appreciated it until now. She had made all my clothes. I was dressed in ruffles and frills as far back as I could recall. When I got my first job, I told her I was going to a boutique to buy my clothes. I’ll never forget the hurt look on her face.

But time marched on, and my mother was thrilled when I presented her with a granddaughter. She loved babies and started sewing again. Her trusty Singer came out of storage and the ruffles and frills flew through her hands—dresses, jumpers, pantsuits, and aprons.

As I drove, I thought of how touched my mother would be to see that I had passed one of her prized creations on to her great-granddaughter.

I pulled into the huge service station right on time, and Jennifer was waiting for me. I handed over the large coat box with trembling hands and misty eyes. “Thanks, Mom, for doing this. Emily was so afraid she wouldn’t get to wear her coat. Mom, what’s wrong? Why the tears?”

“Jen, you probably don’t remember my telling you, but when I was seven I wore the coat for Christmas, too. I felt like a princess. That is why I really wanted Emily to have it. My mom will be so pleased to see another one of ’her girls’ wearing it again.”

“Oh, wow, Mom! I forgot that you wore the coat, too. We’ve started a tradition, kinda like the passing of the Olympic torch,” she said as her eyes glistened. “I just wish your mom could see Emily performing in that coat tonight.”

“I’m sure she will, Jen. Heaven has the best seat in the house.”

Sallie A. Rodman

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