I know of no other group of people that are more giving than quilters.
On November 8th my sister Niña called me from her car as she and Joe drove out of Paradise, California through the flames of the now infamous Camp Fire, leaving behind their home to burn to the ground. The horror and profound loss of this instantaneous event left all of us stunned and feeling helpless. Besides the obvious basic needs, I wanted to send them comfort and joy. Through the rallying of many quilters, a quilt was constructed and sent to them.
In brief, here is the story of it’s making as written in the card that was sent with the gift:
“Dear Nini and Joe,
After the initial shock of your fire ordeal, my mind wandered through your destroyed home room by room seeing all you had lost. It was traumatizing because, while we all know that stuff is just stuff, so much of it represented comfort, heritage and memories.
With that in mind I decided that what you needed most right now is comfort, and along with that, new memories together and new heritage. You needed a new quilt STAT! You got to enjoy my quilt gifts to you and you got to enjoy the quilts you made for yourself, both now lost, so here is a new opportunity to enjoy another one while you cuddle up and feel the love that made it.
Here is the back story:
I knew there was no way I could make a new quilt fast enough so I sent out an email to a few of my quilters friends telling them the story of your loss and asking for a 12” block. People jumped at the chance to help and spread the word. Blocks came tumbling in from Georgia, Maine, California, Vermont and New Hampshire and from people I have never met! Someone even did the quilting for it as a gift and another stranger donated a gift certificate to a local quilt shop so I could get most of the fabric needed to complete it!
I was able to gather everyones photos and on the front of this card you will see their smiling faces. Each one said it was their honor to contribute. There is a lot of love dripping from this quilt and a lot of tears of witness to it. I hope you enjoy this as a symbol of new beginnings and of how there are really are people is this world who care. And it just so happens, most of them are quilters!
P.S. It is interesting to note that many of the people who made these blocks were going through their own ordeal; under-going chemotherapy, preparing for a bilateral lung transplant, caring for a friend in her last few days on this earth, hobbling with a back injury, colds and the flu. And of course making Thanksgiving dinner!! These are not only a gift of art but gifts of time and strength.
P.S.P.S Some of the blocks came in after the quilt top was completed so I turned them into pillows that harmonize with the quilt.”
Last night we slept under a gorgeous quilt made by your hands. I swear we could feel the tender loving care enveloping us, AND it arrived the same morning as our new bed! [They had been sleeping on a blow up mattress on the floor]
The destruction of our home and personal belongings has been difficult, but the hardest part is losing “things” with memories and connections attached to them. …family treasures, vacation mementos, friend’s gifts, art, and it just goes on from there. While those things are gone, we also lost our community. All of you who participated in creating this new memory and piece of art for us, are now a part of our new community and our rich new memories!
We have our first treasure with names and faces attached! Every block is cherished, and we couldn’t be more grateful!
Love, Niña and Joe “
Mother; the giver of life. While it takes two to tango, the carrier is whom we call Mother and who we give credit for life. And while biologically some of us have carried and many of us have not, it is this essence of mothering that I want to honor today because all of us who give life should be honored.
When I think of the phrase “to give life” I rarely think of a biological process because, in my mind, “living” has less to do with a beating heart and more to do with our essence. We use expressions like “the walking dead” and “life-less eyes” to describe those who are lacking that essential spark, so true living must be about our spirit [or whatever you call it]. Right?
Those who inspire our spirit are givers of life and, to my mind, are therefore “mothers”. Think Mother Teresa; there is a reason that celibate nuns who have accomplished giving acts are called mothers. How many have inspired us in our life? Can they also be called Mothers? I think so.
In this context I am sure that you have had occasion in your daily existence to give life to someone; the elderly neighbors whose driveway you snow plow, the admiring words about someone’s gardening efforts, buying lemonade from a kids roadside stand…providing hope, offering meaning, giving life.
Although I love brunch, lets dump the stereotypical commercialism of this day and celebrate motherING. Whether we are estrogen loaded or not I honor the life-giving you have shared in your own daily walk.
I will be in my garden today like always; rain or shine. Where will you be? Happy Mothers Day one and all!
Featured header and footer photos are cupcakes! Amazing frosting work of art from the Concord Coop Concord, NH.