Ghosts, ghouls and goblins don't strike fear into my heart as much as the electric torture device known as "The Sewing Machine". The last time I saw mine, it was holding up the back end of my husband's car while he changed the tire.
"I want you to make me into Cinderella," my daughter announced on schedule, "at the ball."
"How about a ghost," I pleaded, "or something else with one seam?"
"Cinderella," she insisted, "with lace, puffy sleeves, and lots of jewels!"
I silently cursed the other mothers on the block who diligently sewed their children's costumes each year. They could make 10 Cinderellas and a fairy godmother in the time it took me to tie my shoe. Throughout October, the street was filled with the hum of sewing machines coming from every direction, but mine.
"Why go to all of the trouble," my husband asked, "when you can buy her a nice costume at the mall?"
"All the other mothers in the neighborhood make them," I said. "It's like having a homemade cake at your birthday party instead of a grocery store special."
"Remember last year," he asked, "when you used the stapler and her halo kept poking the back of her head and her angel wings blew off into the gutter?"
"She looked very cute while it lasted," I said, "and I enjoyed making the costume," I paused, "but the last time I turned the sewing machine on, it trapped my sleeves under the bobbin and stitched a seam up my right arm before I could pull the cord out of the wall with my foot."
I drummed my fingers on the counter and bit my lower lip. Then I realized the angel gown was still hanging upstairs in my daughter's closet.
The next day I found it and dyed the white cloth pink and closed the wing holes with masking tape. I added lace to the front with a glue gun and stuffed the shoulders with tissue, then expanded last year's halo into a tiara and sprinkled a stick from the backyard with glitter for a magic wand. I carefully hung my creation back in my daughter's closet and hoped everything would stick together until next week.
On Halloween Eve it took 20 minutes to seal my daughter into her costume.
"I'm beautiful!" She twirled in front of the hall mirror.
"Just like Cinderella?" I asked.
"No," she said, "just like you." She kissed me on the cheek.
I was going to hand out candy this year while my husband chaperoned the Trick or Treating, so I stood in the doorway and watched them walk down the front steps. They only got to the end of the driveway before I saw two strips of masking tape flapping in the wind, the lace beginning to peel and a wad of tissue working its way out of the right sleeve, but my daughter was laughing and happily waving her wand.
"I love you, Mommy!" She turned and blew me a kiss. Underneath all of the tape and glue, Cinderella was still my angel. "See!" I wanted to shout to my husband, "This is the reason I go to all the trouble!" But, I just blew two kisses back and hoped my labor of love would hold together through the night.
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