When I was a child, I seethed with jealousy about any advantage, real or imagined, that my sister had over me. Her long, straight blond hair mocked my poufy Dorothy Hamill cut. She was good at sports and socializing, when all I liked to do was read and clean closets. When it came to gifts, money, and my parents' attention, I spent a lot of time trying to make sure things were fair.
Each year the 13 cousins in the family would draw a name to exchange one "Cousin Gift." It was the highlight of Christmas, with gifts coming to Virginia from our cousins in Texas, Oregon, and Kenya. One year my cousin Emily drew my sister's name, and in mid-December it arrived-- a handmade quilt, each square depicting something that began with the letter "E"-- my sister's first initial. I marveled at my Aunt Bonnie's creativity and skill. I particularly enjoyed stroking the flocked fabric on the fuzzy EGG square.
Oh, how I loved that quilt!
I can't remember whether I griped about my lack of an "A for Anna" quilt, but I'm pretty sure I did, because one day my mother, who didn't like to sew at all, presented me with a quilt of my own. It didn't have the alphabet squares, or cute pictures appliqued on it, just a big A at the top made out of fabric to match the colorful bedroom Mom had created for my sister and me. I love how she didn't feel compelled to make me an exact replica of my sister's quilt. I wanted and A, so she gave me an A, darn it.
My mom loved me, complaints, drama, and all. She never made me feel like a pain in the neck, although I know I was sometimes, acting like a little martyr and a know-it-all. I love the quilt she made, and it has traveled with me from house to house over the 28 years since she has been gone. I'm glad I can still remember feeling loved by her, regardless of how I was acting. I hope my kids will one day be able to think back on undeserved, unexpected gifts I've given them, whether they are something physical like the quilt, or just a glimmer of grace on a really hard day. Today, June 27th, would have been my mom's 75th birthday. Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mom.
And now, on to why this memory came up for me today. Aunt Bonnie, nearly 40 years after making that E quilt for my sister, made Andrew an amazing "A" Quilt. It is a treasure! You should see the tiny whisk made out of thread that goes with APRON, or the detail on the ARTICHOKE! ARROWS? AIRPLANE? ACORNS? AMERICA? Simply adorable. Here's a sample:
I can tell he's going to love it, too.