A few months ago, my eldest niece, who is only a few years younger than me, told me that a friend of hers from high school was competing in a scavenger hunt in a mountain town, and suggested that I join my friend’s team. I agreed and my niece’s friend and I began building a team. We chose a superhero theme, calling ourselves the Sc-Avengers, and planned generic superhero costumes that would accommodate our cold-weather gear.
My niece’s friend (henceforth my friend) and I went to the crafts store to shop for supplies the Sunday before our Saturday adventure. My costume ideas were vague, so I tagged along with her and sounded out her plans. She had downloaded plans to make a cape. I assumed she would go for something traditional— satiny and blue or black, but was surprised to hear her say that she was going for polar fleece. We had a blast choosing from rows of outrageous colors and patterns. Soon, I was on board with the idea of a polar fleece half-cape, too.
Giddy with the fun I was having, I chose a wildly out-of-character neon print (I’m normally extremely practical and tend toward classic, tailored pieces. I was carried away) and a ridiculously over-the-top ribbon with which to close it. I went nuts with the mask, choosing iridescent holographic Duck Tape to attach to a mask form for premium fabulousness. (Fabulosity? I digress.)
Late Wednesday night of that week, I spread the pattern and the polar fleece throughout my living room and cut out the pieces. By Thursday at noon, I was home from work with a fever that ascended precipitously and gave me chills. By noon Friday, I had been diagnosed with tonsillitis and knew I couldn’t go to Saturday’s race.
And the makings of my cape have sat in their crafts bag for the two full months since. Because the cape is not me. As much fun as I had that day, I find myself with shockingly few occasions for wearing neon polar fleece capes. I felt bad that they’d go to waste— having already cut out the parts of the pattern, it was unlikely that I’d be able to use the material for anything else. It finally hit me that I know who the cape was for, and that it needed to be made exactly as specified. Because I know someone who needs a neon fleece superhero cape. Someone whose spirit of adventure I think I was channeling that day in the craft store.
So I got to work. I retaught myself how to work a sewing machine, pieced and pinned the pieces, and started sewing. I attached the ribbon.
And now, it goes to the woman without whom it would never have existed—the girl who started this whole auntie business, not to mention the scavenger business— for her birthday. With my love and good wishes. I think my great-niece and great-nephews finally deserve to see their mama decked out as the superhero she is.