Anyone who travels internationally has faced the packing dilema of “Is it worth the weight?” With a limited amount of pounds that you’re allowed to cram into two small suitcases and a carry-on, you begin to understand how something can be worth its weight in gold.
In my 20 years of traveling back and forth between Ohio and Peru, here’s what I’ve learned: cans of black olives and bags of Fritos take up too much space. Plus, I don’t miss them anymore so they no longer make the cut. Cans of cranberry sauce, chocolate chips, and (probably really terrible for your health) packets of sliced pepperoni are very American flavors that we all crave every once and a while, so we always make room for them. And every time we come back from the U.S., we have to allot at least 11 pounds of our weight limit to a gallon of Uncle Gary’s pure maple syrup, tapped and boiled in the woods behind my grandma’s northeast Ohio farm.
And then there are the tennis shoes and hiking boots, tents, sleeping bags, and jeans and shirts and underwear for at least two years for four people, and suddenly we’re down to just four small carry-ons left to pack, and way to much stuff to cram into them!
But one year, before the kids joined our family (so it was obviously an easier decision since I didn’t have to leave behind something for them), I didn’t pack anything in my carry-on. Instead, I brought this:
I carried it onto the airplane, shoved it into the overhead bin, and have realized many times over that this sewing machine was definitely worth the weight!
I’ve used the machine often in the 15 or so years that I’ve had it in Peru. I have made tablecloths and table runners, curtains for five rooms (my mom even made a set when she was here once), two very bright Christmas tree skirts and a set of equally bright pillow covers for our living room. A few years ago we made some retro Christmas ornaments from a pattern that I remember making with my mom and sisters when we were kids. I’ve made cowboy & Indian costumes and knights in shining armor, a menagerie of puffy dinosaurs, and a stuffed lamb for Ade’s mom when she could no longer stay at their house on the farm and she missed her animals.
Most recently, I finished making bathrobes for Ade and the boys, all of whom had said (quite often, in fact) that they would NEVER wear a bathrobe… but they’ve been using them morning and night ever since they opened their Christmas gifts!
So, yes, the sewing machine was definitely worth the weight.
With the exception of the curtains, none of the things I made was a necessity, but they sure have brought a lot of cheer and joy to our home. And the process of cutting out a pattern, threading the machine, and stitching through these projects has served, in a small way, to connect my past, present, and future. While working on a project, I remember the many hours when Mom was patiently teaching me to sew. I think of the beautiful gifts that both she and my grandma made for my sisters and me through the years. And I’m happy that I can use this skill in the present day to fill our home with lovely things.
As for connecting to the future, I’m operating under the hope that at least one of my boys will be the sentimental type who will want to pass along to his kids the baby bathrobe, the stuffed dinosaurs, the dress-up costumes, the Christmas ornaments, and the very-bright bedspreads. If this happens someday, then I’ll be able to say that the sewing machine was not only worth its weight, but worth its weight in gold!