It felt a little disingenuous, writing yesterday about such a happy thing. Our love story. The quilt which is supposed to remind me, every time I run upstairs to shove a stinky diaper in the bin. Every time I run downstairs to get ice from the freezer to soothe a boo-boo. Every six a.m. wake up call after getting grunted at by my ‘tween on my way for the coffee. It should remind me of all the love and the circumstances that brought us here. Truth is though, that it doesn’t always — remind me. I am able (much to my own disappointment) to walk past it a hundred times a day and not be moved. Someone carved squares from work-shirts and muslin and collected scraps from church-dresses and quilting bees to create an artful expression and warm their family. Decades later it has made it’s way into my life for a reason, and I forget. And even as I write this I understand that I wish for it’s symbol to bring light to my day and still it feels dark sometimes.
Last week was tough. Maybe it’s just January. I’ve been here before. We’re all cooped up. My body isn’t soaking up enough sunshine. I have a cold. The easy baby I nursed for the last two years now has his own opinion about everything and guess what? It’s the extreme polar opposite of mine. My eleven year old is fully steeped in middle school drama and moody behavior and guess what? He’s taking it out on me. My husband was AWOL at work. I found myself snapping.
And I walked by that quilt, seven hundred times, and I still felt dark.
But this place. This place causes me to take a closer look, to put things in perspective and for that, I’m grateful.
His passion and talent.
Giving something back.
A few warmer moments.
Company in my sick bed.
An entire day in NYC.
Wrapped in something I made for him.
(Photo and baby toes credit: Stephanie Hatzenbuehler)
A successful project.
This week I will try harder. I will focus on the positive. I will live up to the story of that quilt.
Now, I know it’s not the camera that makes the photographs. Any more than the box of sharp colored pencils makes the illustrator. Or owning Photoshop makes you a web-designer.
But it helps.
For example. I’ve never showed you this
because I didn’t have a fast enough lens (or a tripod) to get a shot of my window-less stair hall.
This quilt was a wedding gift from my husband.
On our wedding day he gave me a handwritten note (most of which I won’t share here) with the promise of a stop at this shop on our honeymoon in Maine. (For the sentimental among you: we chose Maine because we met there almost fifteen years earlier during a time when we both worked there. Also, I needed to go someplace where we could hop in the car and be home in less than a day’s time since my then-seven-year-old-boy was to be staying behind.)
We spent hours looking through quilts at Betsy Telford’s shop trying to choose one that we both loved (and that was in the budget). While I appreciate the craftsmanship of a traditional quilt (which is mostly what she stocks), my heart belongs to patchwo4k. And this one tells a poignant story of African American tradition in Alabama in the 1950’s.
And it’s pretty.
Getting all cocky last week about how much I could do. About how well-adjusted my toddler was that I could draft patterns and volunteer time and be social. About how accomplished a multi-tasker I was that I could design websites and cook dinners and take showers.
I should have known better.
This week is shaping up to be far less productive.
This week I have a toddler who runs away (laughing) when it’s time for a diaper change. Today I have a child who needs my full attention every. single. minute. Right now I can’t multi-task to save my life. It’s raining and I’m sick and everything feels difficult.
And so goes the cycle of motherhood.
You’ll have to excuse me now, the baby is brushing the cat with a toothbrush and I guess I should intervene.