Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Patchwork of Influences

my grandma and my baby

I sit pajama-clad on the floor of my children's room in the streaming sunlight of mid-morning. They chirp about me, all of us enjoying the entertainment of the "I Spy" quilt as breakfast digests. They love to search for hidden details, "I spy a dinosaur wearing roller-skates," Henry calls out. We scrutinize each square til we find the bright yellow one full of funky dinosaurs aboard all manner of wheeled amusements. "There it is!" we exclaim, wide-eyed and smiling. "I can see six squares with bugs on them," I announce, "can you find them all?"
The searching continues...

Though not technically an heirloom, the quilt is a treasure.
I love it for its clever charm - several dozen squares, a patchwork of eclectic prints -- shapes, letters, creatures, patterns, landscapes, colors. I love the thought of a craft that might help you work through your bins of scrap fabric. I love the joy it brings to my children and the way we can all share in the fun - from twenty-something down to twenty months.
But mostly, I love that it is a piece of my grandmother woven into the happiest hours of our morning.
I think of all the pieces of her in my life's quilt - the way I get my second wind most nights at ten o'clock. The way I love to start a project (and sometimes don't get around to finishing it, right Grandma? (wink!)) The way my soul gets restless without enough music, creativity and beauty. The way I'm always curious about what's inside that divey old antique store on the side of the highway. The way I can't really agree with the thought of someone else doing my work - and how I'm not afraid to scrub on my hands and knees, mow the lawn, sweat, and get dirty.

Her life is a monument to industry, creativity, thrift, kindness, goodness, nurturing. I'm under no illusions of perfection; there's not a whiff of pretense about her and she readily admits her shortcomings. Still, I juxtapose my life beside hers and evaluate, re-tune - like a pianist listens to his note beside the perfect pitch of a tuning device.

When I asked her to reflect on her life as a woman and a mother she said simply:

"I have totally loved being a woman and a mother. But if I could do it over again, there are a few things I would try to be better at: I would listen more and lecture less.
And I would relax and just try to enjoy the journey, not stressing about everyone and everything being perfect."

Hers is a strong and beautiful one in the patchwork of influences that has shaped my life. I love her so dearly; I could write for days and rent a brass band and it wouldn't be enough.


This week at Bloom, we'll be featuring some of the women who've had tremendous maternal influence in our lives. We're excited to gain perspective from a few who have deeper wells of experience to draw from. We hope you'll all find something useful and helpful. Even more, we hope you'll take a few minutes to reflect on women who have had a similar impact on your lives - mothers, grandmothers, aunts, friends, sisters. And let them know how dearly you appreciate them.

We'd be wise to spend more time in quiet observation of the strong, purposeful women around us; there is inestimably much we can learn from one another.



Scroll down for a Mother's Day Wish List suggestion;
we'll be sharing pretty li'l things we'd love to own all week long.
And we'd love to know what you're wishing for as well.


Natalie said...

Lovely Em, that picture of your grandma and Lily is a treasure. And as always, your writing is beautiful. Love you! "Listen more and lecture less." Mmm, I like it. :)

Abbie said...

This is gold. One of my favorite things is talking to women that have been through it and asking for advice and just asking how they handled things. I'm really excited for this. And I need to listen more...

Jesslyn said...

What a lovely post! That quilt sounds awesome! Can we see a picture of it?

Steph said...

Oh Em, I think I love your Grandma. How lucky you are to have such a wonderful, REAL woman as an example in your life.

Joan said...

What a timely topic. I'm anxious to

Kalli Ko said...

awesome. I love moms.