Needlework may well be a rare skill in my family.
In a family of two daughters and one son, my dad is the seamster.
You can see here the before-and-after shots of my shoe being repaired, namely the buckle of the shoe strip.
It snapped when I was getting off the bus.
Unwilling to buy another pair, and reluctant to throw away this pair of relatively-new shoes, I pretty much had an uneven walk for the rest of the day before getting home and telling Dad: “Hey Dad, can you fix my shoe? No hurry. Take your time. Not urgent.”
You see, my dad is the family’s seamster. He started repairing all clothes from loose buttons to more complicated fixes late in life while one day, my younger sister by a year thrusted her clothes into his hands and said, “You fix it.”
He rose to the challenge and boostfully showed off his handiwork. Excellent. I followed suit.
We didn’t quite bully him, but rather, put his skills to good use.
When I got home two days later, my Dad remarked causally: “Try on your shoe. See if it fits well. It may be too loose.”
I did so pronto, “How did you find the buckle?”
I was shocked. I just expected him to stitch the elastic to the other strip of the shoe. It was as good as new.
Dad: “I have my means.”
Me: “It’s perfect. Thank you!”
I next told him the pair was relatively new, only S$10 but I loved the colour. I was making conversation. It was hard – even for me, to express the extent of my gratitude in him taking time from his one off-day a week to repair my shoe.
Love is kind.
The next morning, Mom told me it took him half a day to find a replacement buckle and repair my shoe.
Half a day?!
Love is perservance.
Besides my shoe, he also fixed a loose button of one of my dresses that day.
Another time I passed him another dress I loved to mend. The entire dress was coming apart from the chest. Without some emergency “surgery”, I would have to discard the dress. It was a delicate “operation” because there were many frayed threads and the material – chiffon. He took three hours to mend it.
Love is patience.
I’m reminded again how much I am loved.
Love is felt.
Love is expressed through words and deeds. For a long time, I begrudged how there was hugging and words of love expressed in the families of “white people” in accordance to many of the novels I read. If they loved me, why don’t they tell me so instead of shouting, yelling, and nagging at me all the time?
Through the years, I’ve come to believe this saying, “Don’t believe what a man says. Judge him by what he does.”
Love is not just what you say.
Love is being in service of another out of no other motive other than for them to be well. As much as it is a gift to give, it is also a gift to receive.
And two days ago, I received the love my Dad was expressing through repairing my shoe, and dress once again. I am also reminded of the countless little things he has done for me.
I love you too.