A Tear in the Fabric

My husband had to come home from work this morning to change clothes because his shirt ripped.

I was hoping it was a tear I could repair, but it is not. Right across the back, the fabric just shredded.IMG_0437

And we are both sad about this, much more than one might expect us to be about a shirt.

But here’s the history on this shirt you might need to understand….

I started dating my husband when we were both seniors in college in Texas. 1991. A long time ago.

Once upon a time, as they say.

I bought him a shirt, around the time we graduated. It might be the first gift I gave him. It was a madras button up shirt. They were the rage at the time.

And he’s worn it all these years.

My love in the shirt this summer at a concert

My love in The Shirt this summer at a concert

We can talk about the impressive fact that he still wears the same size he wore in 1991, or that his amazing wife bought him a shirt that would be so timeless as to transcend all other fashion trends of the past 22 years! We can talk about the quality of that J Crew shirt, to last all these years too.

But the end of the madras shirt is making me wistful today. I told him not to throw it away. I don’t know what I’ll do with it. It almost makes me want to spend time (I don’t have) on Pinterest to look for a crafty project for it. Maybe I could make a picture frame covered in the fabric. A pillow to put on our bed. I don’t know. Likely it will languish in a drawer while I get distracted by other things. But I can’t throw it away.

Clearly, I got my money’s worth with this gift. I don’t expect my clothing purchases today to still be wardrobe staples in 2035.

This shirt is not a symbol of anything.

But this shirt has been a witness to it all. Our entire relationship almost! Young love. A new marriage. The first fight (and a few after that). The births of the kids. Moves from Albuquerque to Olympia to Shiprock to Farmington to Decatur to Boise. Much laughter. Times with friends and family. Medical School, Residency, and Seminary.

So today, I’m thankful for all it witnessed.

I’m thankful my marriage is stronger than the strongest cotton shirt fabric.

I’m thankful the snags, rips, and tears in our relationship, minor as they may be, have been mend-able and that both of us were willing to do the mending.

I’m thankful for the reminder that rips and tears happen, no matter how well you prepare or tend to the fabric.

Guess it is time to buy him some new shirts. We’ve got many more years that will need a witness.

9 thoughts on “A Tear in the Fabric

  1. not a shirt on my back
    not a penny to my name
    Lord, I can’t go back home
    this a’way
    This a’way, this a’way, this a’way, this a’way
    – witness –


  2. Have a friend who has a Montreat home and is a quilter. She’s made her kids awesome quilts out of favorite T-shire and jeans. For a significant birthday/anniversary her husband had a master quilter make her a queen-sized quilt out of her favorite old dresses. Really beautiful and meaningful. Well done you. Hope I get to meet him one of these days. Blessings.


  3. Posting my first one here…when dad gave me my deceased mom’s apron, 45 years old, and cried as he did it, I knew I had to figure something out. I took a piece from the center and framed it, hung it on the wall, and amazingly, it fit right in. You’d be surprised at how nicely those things just seem to work out.


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