As you are reading this article, I could very well be cuddling my first grandchild as my son Robert and wife Kimberly expect to welcome their son into the world in late October or early November.
What an emotional time it has been for this first-time grandma as I have prepared to keep a promise, I made to Robert over 25 years ago.
It all began when a stroller age Robert and I set out on a sunny Friday morning to go to neighborhood garage sales, the ideal places to pick up clothes for a growing boy. Off we went, parked the car, set up the stroller, and started trekking from home to home to view the day’s offerings. Often experienced sellers will ask you, “Is there anything special you’re looking for?”
That question set off this chain of events when I answered, “Do you have any fabric or quilts?” The young woman paused and said, “I think I have a quilt.” She disappeared inside her home and came out with a handmade baby quilt with an embroidered bunny surrounded by hand-quilted calico squares on the front and pre-quilted fabric on the back. I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she said $1.50. Sold! While she folded it, placed it in a bag, and handed it to me, she remarked “I hope my mother-in-law doesn’t find out that I sold the quilt she made for my daughter when she was a baby.” We finished our garage sale rounds, returned home, and the quilt became another textile in my vast collection.
A few years later Barbara Wright and I became good friends. She also had an interest in needlework, and she asked if she could see my quilt collection. She came by on a sunny autumn Sunday afternoon, and we started going through the pile of quilts laid out on our dining room table. Layer by layer quilt patterns, quilt designs, techniques and color choices were discussed. One thing I learned that day was that any quilt created with pumpkin orange fabric would not meet with Barb’s approval!
As we delved deeper into the pile, we came across the embroidered bunny quilt. Looking at it I told Barb how I had acquired it and about the woman’s remark as she handed it over to me. Out of the blue Robert came running up to me tugging on me wailing and sobbing, beseeching me, “MOMMY, can we give that little girl her blankie back?” I knelt and took my distraught son into my arms as my eyes filled with tears. I held him close, and I comforted him saying “Robby, I’d love to give that little girl her blankie back, but we went to so many garage sales that day I wouldn’t remember which one was her home.” I continued comforting my son.
“Do you know what, Robby? If her mommy was willing to sell her daughter’s blankie to me, she could have just as easily have sold it to someone else. You know what we’ll do? We’re going to keep this quilt and make certain it will be loved again by a special little boy or girl.” After a few more moments of my soothing and hugging him, his sobs subsided, and he scampered off. Barb, who witnessed this exchange, quietly remarked how much empathy Robby showed for a child of his age and I wholeheartedly agreed.
Last February when Robert and Kimberly zoomed me the news that they were expecting a baby, I knew it was time for me to keep my promise to Robert. I took the quilt out and made a few minor repairs before shipping it to their Maryland home. I will be flying out before their baby boy’s birth, and the box will be opened upon his arrival. Once Robert and Kim open it, I can once again hug my son and tell him with tears of joy that today I’ve kept my promise from so long ago. “The bunny blankie will be loved by your son!”
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