Sewing Lessons

This woman is hopeless with a needle and thread. But her little daughter helps her stitch together the pieces of their lives

by Ann Hood
birds in a tree needlepoint image
Photograph: Illustrated by Miyuki Sakai

Annabelle took my hand in hers and grinned at our work.

I never did finish my third bird. But two years later, Annabelle still goes to sewing classes. She designs and makes stuffed animals, pillows—-anything she wants. She is a good sewer, a fast reader, a poet. In the late afternoon, as the sky begins to turn from blue to lavender, we sit together, Annabelle with her sewing and me with a book. “Remember your birds?” Annabelle sometimes asks.

“I do,” I say. “I remember.”

And she climbs onto my lap, her body fitting just right against mine.

“How did I get so lucky to have you for my daughter?” I murmur.

“Mom!” Annabelle says, rolling her eyes.

Then she pulls her needle and thread through the fabric she’s holding, making slow, even stitches. What I know now is that we are all, each of us, doing just that. Even a failed seamstress like me keeps sewing, in a way. There is my daughter Annabelle, and the memory of my daughter Grace—and there is me, carefully stitching our lives together.

Ann Hood is the author of The Knitting Circle and a new novel, The Obituary Writer.

Next: The Mother-Daughter Tattoo

Want MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

First published in the April 2013 issue

Share Your Thoughts!


teresa Nextdoor05.23.2013

"Her mother in China abandoning her on an early September morning". How tragic and ignorant a statement this is. If you are going to raise a Chines daughter, please understand the oppressive Chinese government One Child policy that forces women to secretly give birth to their second and other children so they won't be forcefully aborted. This child's mother no doubt saved the child's life by hiding her pregnancy outside her village, making it possible for the child to live and be adopted by Ann Hood. This child's mother was a hero. God bless and help her, and tell this little girl how much her biological mother must have loved her to let her to go to the safety of another woman's arms. That is the real story here. For more:

Post new comment

Click to add a comment