Friday, October 1, 2010

An ode to mamas (and Tim Gunn, too)

Confession: I am a Project Runway junkie. There is no compelling reason why I, personally, should love this show. I am not fashion-forward in the least (I get tons of compliments on how I dress my kid, but never on how I dress myself). I cannot sew a stitch even though my mom can sew like the wind (she has fantasies about Tim Gunn showing up at her house and announcing, “Let’s go to Mood!”) I have only a passing interest in reality TV (I have never sat through an episode of The Bachelor, Big Brother, or Jersey Shore although I will admit to watching Lockup Raw more often than a normal law-abiding person should/would), but yet I tune in to Project Runway every Thursday like clockwork. I even let the kid eat popcorn and watch Nickelodeon in my bed on Thursday nights so that I can have the other TV all to myself.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I really enjoy the show and have been a fan for several seasons. Watching creative, artsy people make legitimate (if outlandish) clothing out of supplies found at a party store or grocery store . . . it’s oddly compelling. The whole process fascinates me. The most fabulous thing about the program is, of course, Tim Gunn. I don’t think anyone else on the planet could manage to talk a designer out of an unneeded peplum quite so eloquently. "This worries me," he always says with a slight frown.

This week’s episode was more emotional than most. Tim had a surprise for the designers: their families came to visit. For most of the designers their visitor was, more specifically, their mama. I have never seen a group of adults crumple quite like those seven people did. Andy was so emotional after spending time with his mom that he finished the week’s project by churning out a piece of utter crap (and normally his talent really shines). See, I don’t have an eye for haute couture and normally I cannot predict in advance what the judges will love or hate, but this week even I knew it was a heap of dung. Gretchen, who is normally a bit haughty and as Dr. Phil would say, “is happy with the way she turned out,” revealed that her family doesn’t have much money and she didn’t think her mom would be able to come. But then her mom rounded the corner and Gretchen erupted in tears just like the others.

It was quirky but endearing Mondo who really got to me this week, though. He, too, received a visit from his mom. Each designer was given the technology to design his/her own fabric, which would then be used in this week’s garment challenge. Mondo’s material contained large + signs. He quietly revealed to the camera that it is symbolic of his HIV+ status. He also spoke of how he had come out to his mother years ago and while she took the news fairly well, she immediately advised him never to tell his father. My heart broke for him, having to keep so many secrets for so many years.

Although I thought the pants Mondo made from that + sign fabric were uglier than homemade sin, the judges adored them and he won the challenge for the third week in a row. He’s socially awkward and quirky as all get-out, but apparently the man’s got talent. I’m betting that his mama may not thoroughly understand him, but loves him more than he’ll ever know and is proud as all get-out.

The episode did make me think about what a huge impact one’s mom has. Yes, I’m stating the obvious, but I can’t help but wonder if I can live up to such a big role myself. It could be that some of the designers would have burst into tears upon seeing their dad as well, but we reserve our truly weepy, needy selves for our mamas, don't we? When something big happens in your life, who’s the first person you call? Your muddah, most likely. When my daughter is hurt, she calls out for me, even if her dad is literally right next to her. That’s because I will scoop her up and kiss her owie and wipe her tears, whereas her dad will helpfully advise her on what she could have done differently so as not to have incurred the injury in the first place. He’s a spectacular dad, but nurturing he ain’t.

Speaking of moms . . . yes, I have formally decided to drive to Oklahoma to visit my mom next month. That’s 34 hours round-trip. I would make a comment about how she’ll feel compelled to re-write her will after this incredible act of devotion from her oldest daughter, but with my luck I’d just end up with her six cats.

My mom and my kid

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Somewhere along the road I must have done something very right to deserve going through this life with you as my daughter. I love you so much.
You'll be here next month!
Mom