I received a precious gift today…
And during my busy comings and goings of dishes and dusting and mundane chores I was unexpectedly summoned up ten stairs by the soft spoken voice of the woman who birthed my soulmate. “Sharon, can you come up here? I have something for you” she proclaimed. There, standing shakily above her bed clutching the foam grips of her walker, stood my Mother In Law; breathing heavily and out of breath like she would have in her younger days after playing tag or rough housing with her beloved children, she gazed proudly at her bed. Today the effort that brought her fatigue was spent for me.
Below her, spread out smoothly and neatly displayed was an afghan that she had been working on since Christmas. For weeks she had sat, hour after hour, stitch after stitch, patiently working a simple ball of yarn into something of beauty. Daily I would make my way up the stairs to visit with her and she would be sitting with the project in her lap-hands working diligently at her ever growing craft. Every so often she would stop to stretch her painful fingers and hands. She never really complains….
At one point she was at a standstill after running out of a particular color and could not continue. I searched four stores to find the color--making it my mission to find her the yarn when it was out of stock, simply because it was important to her. Although difficult to see why it was so important that I find it quickly. When at last I did, I presented it to her and with a smile she thanked me, and continued her work. I felt so accomplished knowing that such a small thing made her so happy…such a small gesture to a woman who for a lifetime has given so much. With her missing yarn finally available she began again and in no time beamed happily that she “only had a few more rows left”.
….that night she became ill and had to be hospitalized. I made my way as often as I could get there to visit. When she felt well enough to visit with me, she regretted that if only she hadn’t gotten sick...she was so disappointed that she wouldn’t be able to have it completed by the weekend. I told her that there was no hurry and that the project would still be there when she got home…I left it at that…but she seemed so eager to get it done. As promised, it was still there a week later when we welcomed her back home. She eagerly began her work again that same afternoon. Today I realized why-the blanket she wanted so badly to complete was for me.
As this woman I have grown to love stood there in her bedroom, with the beautiful blanket spread out before her, she looked down with accomplishment at the completion of her gift. At last she could pass it to the one it was intended for.
I carried my treasure to my room and displayed it on my bed, it occurred to me. She had worked SO hard to make this FOR ME! With love those fingers that have become bent and swollen with age and painful arthritis had worked. For me, she worked for hours and hours and hours—hours that in her advanced years are each one precious—FOR ME. I immediately returned back up the stairs. Touched by her generosity and filled with gratitude I hugged her and once again said thank you. She then told me that one day I had told her that I hadn’t slept the night before because I couldn’t get warm.
...To some who visit and see the ordinary granny square afghan on the foot of my bed, it will appear to be no more extraordinary than any other blanket that can be found in thrift stores, animal shelters or on the back of couches across America. To some its browns and tans won’t seem to mesh with the aqua and white décor of my bedroom…but that’s their opinion. I think it is the most amazingly beautiful piece of artwork that has ever been made. When I see it folded there, I reflect on the irreplaceable and precious time spent by a woman who greets every morning as a gift and every moment as a precious commodity ; realizing how little is left. When I spread it out I see in my mind how proud she was to present it to me, and every time I cover with it, I will remember the warmth that I felt at the moment when I walked into her room to see her standing shakily above it…lovingly exhausted from the mere act of displaying it for me to view. The warmth it provides represents unselfish love…