I’m watching a woman making bows. With a swath of ribbon and a mini hotel sewing kit, she’s folding and stitching ribbon into hair bows, presumably for her daughter, a lovely little girl I’ve seen around the preschool.
She unloops the ribbon, stretching it, studying the repeating pattern. Ice cream cones. She folds it a few times, studying it some more to choose just the right spot. Fold, assess, refold, snip, fold, assess, stitch, fluff, admire.
She’s a single mom. I know she’s a full-time student. I imagine what might be on her to-do list for the day, for the week, and marvel that she’s using this time to make little-girl hair bows.
I want to cry.
She must be so busy, every second of her day spoken for. The housework, the schoolwork, the meal-making, the late-night wakeups, the money-earning, etc. While she usually studies intently in the preschool community room during the two hours our kids are in class, today, instead of doing something a loathsome side of my self would call “productive,” she’s making hair bows. And the look on her face is bringing me to tears.
Her physiognomy displays pleasure, deep engagement, love.
Seeing her in the act of making something for her child is so sweet I have to swallow the lump. The energy she’s dedicating to loving her child in this moment, in this rare two-hour moment when she’s not even with her child, is all there is. In my infinite un-crafty-ness (I make nothing other than meals and occasional glitter-glopped pinecones for my boys), I imagine the intention, which I’m presuming is love manifested as adornment, behind her handwork infusing into that clip-on bow, transferring to her daughter’s silken hair and rolling down her forehead into her ears and eyes, over her shoulders, down to her knees and toes. And in this vision, her daughter feels both loved and beautiful.
What a productive use of someone’s time indeed.