My great-grandmother Essie always wore an apron, the full-bib type that buttoned together in the back. Hers were made of lightweight cotton printed with floral patterns and trimmed with piping that matched. Even as a small child, I felt the love and warmth and story inside her tilting house. Although mindful and very much living in the now, part of me lingers in that time so vivid in my mind.
It is perhaps the connection to nurturing that draws me to aprons still. One of my Pinterest boards is filled with photos of vintage aprons and sewing patterns. I foster illusions of making them, but have yet to follow through. In middle-school home-economics class, the first thing I ever sewed was a half apron—lime green cotton with a pocket and ties cut from checkered fabric.
I currently own three bib aprons, but mostly wear one of them, the first I ever bought. A sweet friend recently saw a photo of me wearing it in a social media post. I referred the apron as cherished, so she asked if it had been handed down by one of my grandmothers. “No, but I wish it had been,” I replied. Later, I felt a bit sheepish about having described the apron using the word cherished. Maybe I’d used the term in a misleading way to suggest a level of preciousness that didnt exist. I’ve only ever applied cherished to loved ones and heirlooms.
While preparing dinner that night, I reflected on why a tired and greying apron evokes sentimental feelings. This particular apron came to me at a time when I was still reassembling myself after years of an abusive first marriage. Together, that apron and I have paced miles of kitchen floor and made a lot of progress. We’ve wept into the sink while peeling potatoes and talked me into leaping without a net. We’ve felt a surge of love when my husband and children gather around our table and we’ve felt the pride of overcoming. Ive stuffed its pockets with sweet peas, fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes and eggs freshly laid by our hens. In this apron, I’ve shaped the days I want to live—full of love, writing, and simple pleasures. Cherished is the perfect word.
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