Remember all those Jane Austen movies you’ve seen? You know the scenes. The ones where Eleanor, or Emma, or Elizabeth, or maybe even Fanny, happen to see some dashing young man, at a neck-breaking pace, flying up the dirt road, dust billowing behind his gallant post? The ones where all the women scurry to hide their embroidery, shimmy out of their aprons, take deep breaths to calm their beating hearts and stand serenely, waiting for the gentlemen to be ushered into their sitting rooms. I’ve never understood that. Why this hurrying need to look like they’ve nothing better to do than stand at graceful attention?
Regardless of the seeming unnecessary hypocrisy of those Austen-esque moments, I’m a bit sold on those aprons. And maybe a bit on the hypocrisy! Because motherhood has opened my eyes. Am I the only stay-at-home mother out there who is constantly walking around with yogurt hand-smears down the side of her skirt, or who looks in the mirror after talking to drop-in company and notices a blob of snot down the back of her shoulder? In a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Katie was able to protect her daughter from a child molester by hiding a gun under her working apron. She didn’t even have to reveal the gun! She just shot a hole, right through that apron. On Little House on the Prairie, Caroline was able to carry eggs from the barn to the homestead in her calico apron’s pockets. They just seem so practically ingenious! You wear the apron, take care of all your child-rearing, housecleaning, cooking tasks and then when company drops in? Wa-la! Untie your apron and you’re good as new!
In fact, while we’re at it, could we make our children wear them too? Because yesterday, when we were outside playing with the neighbor children and I had a chat with my wonderful neighbor, I noticed that Little Dove had watermelon drippings all down her shirt and Firefly had ink stains from another one of her drawings all over the front of hers. Wait, maybe that’s what bibs are for.
So, if you happen to drop by and I’m in a gracefully attentive sort of stance, don’t move any sofa pillows when you sit down to chat. You just might happen to find a yogurt-stained apron hiding in amongst the cushions. Don’t worry about sitting on any needles though. I don’t have time to embroider.