Source: Dianne Springer at Threads from My Head
She hesitated for a moment; scissors frozen above the silky fabric as her mind remembered the day. She’d bought the dress herself after saving up for two years. Her friends in the typing pool had teased her mercilessly.
“Why would you marry a farmer when you have all of these devastatingly handsome executives around?” they’d asked. And warned “You can’t leave the city- you’ll die of boredom!” And chided “Are you really that old fashioned? Live a little!”
But she’d told them she was meant to marry Edward Brown. He was an honest, hard working man who would take care of her and their children. No part of her had ever doubted the decision, not even after she moved out of the city and into Ed’s drafty house on the farm.
She looked out the window at the land stretching into the distance and saw the dust from Ed’s labor hovering above the field like an omen. The long, harsh winter and dry summer had made the corn small, withered and pale. They both knew that come harvest time they wouldn’t make enough from sale to be able to afford the lien. The bank would have to foreclose on the farm. If they could just make up for it the next season- which the almanac promised to be wet and fertile- they’d be able to pull out. But without a miracle that would never be.
She thought on it and could almost picture the for sale sign being posted. It was enough to break through the pause.
She took a deep breath and cut into the fabric. Tears escaped from the corners of her eyes as she ripped apart the precious costume that had marked the day she entered into this life. She allowed herself the temporary weakness, it was the first she’d been willing to give in all these long months.
As she went about her stitching she built up the pattern in her head. With her best embroidery and this fabric she had hope she’d be able to make first prize in the county fair. And then she’d be able to ask a price large enough, along with the with the sickly crops, to pay the lien and get their reprieve. She could see it clearly in her thoughts and it made her fingers work quicker.
A sharp eruption of sound made her turn her head and put down her craft. She walked over to the crib, the old floor boards creaking beneath her, and lifted the small bundle into her arms. As she rocked her she wondered if she’d be mad that she wouldn’t have her mother’s dress to wear when she married.
She’d dreamed about watching her only daughter walk down the aisle in it many times she’d had her; the one touch of female grace at the end of a line four boys. But that was just a dream, reality had no interest in it.
“I don’t think you’ll understand it, not at first,” she lilted to the baby, her voice soft and soothing as she tried lull her back into a slumber. “But someday you’ll have your own family, and then you’ll know.”
She continued to rock her as the sun began its decent outside the window, daydreaming about many more years on the farm that she and the boys and Ed would all enjoy together. She let herself envision William working the farm himself, when she and Ed were old. She let herself see Martin going to school with the money they’d get from healthy crops in years to come. She let herself see the twins playing with Elizabeth in the fields and chasing the hens with the dog. And she knew it was a sacrifice well made.
As she tucked her little girl back into the crib she placed a small kiss on her forehead. Then she wiped her face and went back to work on the quilt that would buy her future.