Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stitches of Love

This entry was originally posted on January 30, 2009 on a blog I am gradually closing down. If this is a rerun, feel free to skip. If not, enjoy.

This is a post about why I don't quilt (much) anymore. Once, long ago, back when I was younger, more energetic, had stars in my eyes, was much more insecure, when time hung heavy on my hands, and I had not yet acquired so many children...I used to make quilts. I had this idea that quilts equaled love, and all the endless hours I spent meticulously cutting, piecing, tying, quilting, were evidence of my deep and abiding affection. I had visions of my loved ones feeling my embrace every time they wrapped themselves in my creation. I foresaw into the future a day when my offspring would be telling some grandchild, or great grandchild, how I had made this beautiful enduring quilt, and maybe they would make cookies, and tell stories about what a great Mom/Grandma I am (because you don't think I expect to be dead already, do you?). I also have to confess that I really liked to impress people. I liked the idea, that when people came into my home, they saw these expressions of my skill and love, displayed at the foot of a bed or over the back of a rocker. Wow! What a Mom. You guys sure are lucky.

But time marches on, I have become the Mom of more children, and I don't find myself pulling out the quilting supplies very often. In fact, none of my adopted children have a quilt, made with love, by me. Partly this is because I can't EVER get involved with anything that does not in some way involve them, and dragging out my sewing machine is just a signal for them to set their hair on fire. And partly this is because they don't place a whole lot of value on things like that. They blow through belongings like they are disposable, and a Disney Princess blanket from Target makes them happier. Also, it is partly a time issue. My life is busy right now, just keeping the basics rolling along, and at the end of the day I'm more tired than I used to be, so I go to bed instead of sewing.

But there is something deeper still. I no longer care if I am impressing anyone with my mothering prowess. I realize this about myself, that I spent hours hunched over a cutting board, or a sewing machine, or with needle in hand...and all the while I was trying to escape my children. I would be snappish and withdrawn, and I would expect my children to suffer that gladly because I was making them love and a heritage. And of course no one could fault me for this because I had all this beautiful, tangible evidence of my love draped all over my house.

I still love the quilts I once made. We use them every day. I still love beautiful fabric, and every now and then I get a creative itch. I see a day in the future when I will not be buried in child rearing, and laundry, and therapy. A day when I will once more sit down and create beautiful things with love. It will be nice then, because I will not hold onto the things like trophies. They will not have strings attached that say, "You better appreciate all I do for you, you ungrateful little punk." And I will only ever give them to the people I wish to, and I will never feel pressured or obligated to give them to anyone else. I will probably need more therapy before that day comes.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I used to quilt too, back when I was in my "mother earth" phase and only had two babies. I had always thought I'd get back to it when I had more time, like retirement, but now I have too many children to ever be able to afford to retire and I would rather spend any free time outside in my garden. Oh well, life does move on.