Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.
Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.
A few years ago, we were cleaning out a trunk in my Grandma’s basement. For me, it was like a treasure chest–old pictures, sets of my great-grandmother’s knitting needles–and then my aunt pulled out this quilt.
Except that it’s not just a quilt, it’s history. It’s my history. There are sixteen squares, each with a name embroidered in the middle. While I don’t recognize all of them, I know two of my great aunts, my great-grandmother, and her mother too, all had a hand in making this quilt. I’m still not entirely sure what lucky star of mine led to no one else wanting it. I was thrilled to be allowed to take the quilt home.
But once I got it here–beyond giving it a good airing to get rid of the mothball smell–I wasn’t sure what to do with it. It was too precious to use. It was too precious to breath on, to me. And we didn’t have a place to hang it on the wall or anything like that. So it sat, folded carefully, on a shelf.
Until one night last winter. I was heavily pregnant and had started getting up to knit in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. But that night I got cold and all of our other quilts had migrated to other areas of the house. As I pulled this quilt around myself, I had such a comfortable thought, “It’s like they’re all reaching down from the past to keep me and the baby warm.”
And as I started thinking of them–the fine women who made my quilt–I thought of the knitting and sewing I’ve done over the years. And I asked myself, “When is the last time you made something with the hope that it would sit on a shelf and not be used?”
Of course, the answer is, “Never.” Like most makers, I want my creations to be enjoyed.
I’m still very careful with the quilt. But, since then, I’ve made it a point to pull it out and use it every now and then, particularly when I’m feeling low or–as this week–my son is having trouble sleeping because he’s teething. I have a feeling the women who carefully stitched their names on the squares would be glad to see their work snuggled around their small descendant.