Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There’s something about the utter simplicity of gratitude coupled with a shared gorge-fest that makes me forget about myself and remember instead all of the people who make my life whole. And, it’s the time when I especially remember never to take my gifts for granted.
My biggest gift, the one I’d dreamed of for years, and many times thought I’d never receive, was the gift of motherhood.
Samantha came to my husband and me after we were married for more than 13 years. Before her, I’d lost nine babies through tubal pregnancies and miscarriages. Samantha is what we very affectionately call a lab rat. She is an IVF baby, my third attempt, and she was a surviving twin as well.
During all of those long years of trying to get pregnant and then trying to stay pregnant, it was quilting that became my safe place. I could be in the most excruciating emotional trauma, ready to give up on everything because the pain of wanting and losing over and over seemed many times beyond my strength. But at my sewing machine, working on a quilt, I could forget my anguish and my husband’s worry and instead focus on my project. Just me and the quilt. It was that simple.
When I was far enough along with Sam to start envisioning my life after her arrival, it was quilting that became the next focus after mothering. I was going to be with her, working part time from home, and that would leave me more time for sewing. I joined my local guild when I was six months pregnant, got a better sewing machine and started improving some of my skills.
Sam came and the quilt I made for her while she grew in my tummy covered her. She started crawling through my fat quarters. One day she pulled all of my quilt books off of the shelf in my sew
ing room. As she grew, trips to my local quilt shop required a small bribe for her patience—the purchase of ½ yard of any fabric she chose, just for her stash. (The kid has a healthy stash, let me tell you!) I sewed other things for her as well—clothing, doll things—but quilts were still the primary item coming out of my sewing machine. Sam learned to use my sewing machine by first becoming the operator of my foot pedal.
When I sold my first book, Sam’s picture graced the cover, incorporated as it was into the quilted book cover I made. For my second book, her hands rendered in fabric held the flower bouquet depicted on the cover quilt. This child has grown up with sewing machine oil running through her veins and at the age of 10, she’s comfortable and competent on her own machine, a Janome Gem that I handed down to her. And she’s damn cute in her confidence, I just have to say.
As a writer of real life, there is no separation in my world between my family time and my quilting time. I work at home and I do what I love doing around the people I most love being with. Some days and weeks are heavier with my quilting and other days and weeks are freely given over to the demands of mothering and being a wife and friend. That’s my life and I’m not afraid to stand up for it, because I know that I’m not the only quilter/sewist out there on the ‘Net who juggles family with creativity and a career. Wasn’t that one of the promises that came with today’s technology, the freedom to pursue more opportunities with greater access and ease?
So for this Thanksgiving, as I show off pics of my incredibly cute child, and some of my cats, (because, hell, they are damned cute too!) I hope we all take a few moments to celebrate in our hearts our blessings. And thank God for the cute in our lives, even if it’s not on a quilt!
NOW, would you all like to keep us company this week for Oh Thank Cuteness? We’d LOVE to have you post to your blogs, or even Facebook is you are blog-less, about what makes your world cute. Puppies, children (your own or someone else’s), the squirrel in your backyard, it’s all up for grabs! Here we’re building our link list of friends posting their own version of Oh Thank Cuteness. If you haven’t had enough of the joy here, check out what they are doing. After all, we are all so much more than just our quilts! And if you do participate, grab our button and add your blog address below so we can all share in each other’s cuteness!