I picked up something to mend the other day and as I threaded the needle I walked back to my first cross-stitch assignment in grade three that I made such a hash of that you took over and finished for me. Then during the summer vacation you taught me how to do it well, one stitch at a time. My first introduction to needle and thread and the thing called embroidery. I went on to make small little things after this (as part of school work year after year) and you took such pride in every single thing I made, always commenting on how neat every stitch was.
High on your words one summer holiday I found a book on cross-stitch and got over ambitious. I started out on the most difficult design there was on the book, a grand house with a beautiful flower filled garden. As I counted every cross of every flower and reproduced it, my enthusiasm started to fade. Somewhere down the long 2 month break I let it all go, but you never gave up on me. You picked up the half done work along with the book and kept it safe. I found them tucked in one corner of your cupboard a few years down the line and decided to finish it, all on my own. There was no pushing me to finish it, there was no nagging to start again. There was only keeping my half-finished work safe for me. I completed the house that year and you could not stop smiling.
I remembered the first time I showed you the knot I came up with whenever the thread needed to be switched. I remembered the hours and hours we spend on the saree that you embroidered and I helped you with. I remembered how you never failed to point out that we both worked on it when you did most of the work. I remembered how you always told anyone who listened that my stitches were neater than yours and could be told apart if anyone looked at the saree closely. I remembered your joy every time you wore that saree.
And so I decided to not rush through the mending job but rather do it the right way. I took care of every stitch that I made. I made sure that every stitch would last and that no one would need to worry about the same for a long time to come. I took double the time I would have and this is when time is at a premium these days. But as I got done, I smiled a big smile because I know you would have had you seen my work. And for once I let myself marvel over the neatness of the stitches and gloat about how good I was.