the most precious gift
The other morning I went into the kids’ bedrooms to wake them up and noticed that Claire (our 8-year-old) was sleeping with her baby quilt, which she hasn’t really used in a while. In that moment, it was like a total rush of gratitude that poured over every bit of me. I found myself soaking in this sight of my little girl just a few moments longer before waking her and reflecting on the sweet gift that enveloped her on that warm bed.
A baby quilt is a baby quilt – right? Well, I would guess that many of you have a very sentimental attachment to a certain blanket – or at least a story behind it. Today I wanted to share Claire’s quilt for one simple reason. This is an inspiring idea – and a twist on cultivating a good life and recording it.
David and I had just moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2002 and were expecting our first baby. We didn’t know a soul but very quickly met several wonderful people who became fast friends. These friends threw me a baby shower (Seriously? They knew me for just a few months!) and at this baby shower, my new friend Laurie passed out a little fabric square to everyone there. She had drawn a shape on each square with a pencil, and each person stitched on top of that outline. No skills required. A simple stitch was something everyone could do (or learn in about 30 seconds).
Laurie took all of these squares, added the rest of the “framework” – and our sweet baby Porter had a custom-made and very special quilt that many of my friends participated in. Coolest idea ever. Fast-forward a few years. We were expecting baby #2 – a girl this time. Laurie offered to do this again and how could I resist? This time I felt inclined to be more personally involved in the project.
I took a pencil to each of the muslin fabric squares myself, drew a different kind of flower on each one, and distributed the squares to various women in my life. I even mailed a square to my mom, childhood best friend, college roommate … you get the idea. Each of these women are very special to me, and each of them stitched over the flower, added their initials, and returned it to Laurie – who once again, compiled the quilt.
I added Claire’s full name to the center of the quilt since we knew what it would be before she was born. And yes – I did a flower block myself and “initialed” it with MOM. I also hand-picked the fabrics. But really it was Laurie’s magic that brought it all together.
Part of cultivating a good life is sharing your talents with others. This may have been a simple thing for Laurie, but the fact that she shared her skills in this way, means the world to me. I’m not even sure when she was sewing and tying knots that she realized just how valuable this treasure would be to me … to Claire … and to Claire’s future children and grandchildren.
This quilt (and Porter’s quilt) is a record of friendship and of love. I feel inspired just having this in our home. I encourage you to look around and find even one treasured piece of something that you have and write the story of what it means to you.
Oh – and guess what? Laurie gave birth to a baby boy on the same day that Claire was born. In the same hospital. And in fact, next door to my delivery room. She presented the gift to me in the hospital, right after both of us had babies. I can hardly put that in writing without feeling weepy and full of faith that certain people are put in our life at certain times for certain reasons. Can you believe this selfless act of love? May we all choose to be more charitable and kind. Love you, Laurie Scholzen!