This was from my first nose bleed as a kid. I was so freaked out my mom wrapped me up in it and promised a surprise if I remembered to hold the Kleenex to my nose. I fell asleep before she came back with the surprise ice cream sundae and this is where a little bit of blood fell from my uncovered nose.
This is from when my brother and I were building a fort and the broomstick doubling as the main support beam pierced right through the material. Freddie thought we should fix it with a Band-Aid and you can still feel where it’s a little sticky around the edges of the hole right here.
This was when I stayed out all night, laying on the hood of my beat-up pinto watching the planes land with my high school boyfriend. They were so close and so loud the first plane scared me and I covered my head with the blanket, smearing blue eye shadow and shimmering pink lipstick on the corner here.
This was when I went to my first outdoor concert as a sophomore in college. High as a kite, I’d roll myself up in it like a burrito a roll down the hill, the watery notes of Dave Matthews rolling on the heavy air in the background. Got grass stains all over this side of it from that day. Good times.
This was when I cried for days after Billy left. I didn’t move for days, just cried and slept in a ball on the couch, not even bothering to get dressed. By the time the divorce was finalized, the mascara had set in like black scars on what was once the snowy backdrop, see? Here and here? Like little nails in the coffin of that terrible time- the stains are a reminder that helps to keep the lid securely closed on those days.
This is from my beloved dog Rosco. He loves to make the blanket into his little nest on the couch and would sleep all day at my feet or in my lap as long as I was under the blanket. One day, before I could stop him he jumped up and got muddy little paw prints all over this corner before I could get him off. You can kind of see the outline of his paw here.
This is the chocolate ice cream I shared with the man of my dreams on our first date. He was so cute and I was so nervous I dropped a whole spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s Everything But The… all over the blanket I brought for our impromptu picnic on the dock, under the stars. I knew he was the man of my dreams when we both locked eyes and screamed, “Five second rule!”
This is from my first days home with Rachel. I was so tired and she was so cranky, I thought we were both going to wind up hating each other. But as soon as I sat down in the rocking chair with this blanket snuggled around us she stopped crying and almost instantly drifted off to sleep. She spit up a little when she woke up, it never really came all the way out, but I was so glad she slept I didn’t care. She has your eyes.
So you see grandma, I haven’t misused the blanket you crafted so expertly, although it may not look like much anymore. But every stain, every tear, every unraveling is a memory- a moment in time captured forever one this beautiful and well-loved canvas you made for me. And, it may sound silly, but I like to think of it like a roadmap of my life, something you can look down on with pride and think, “my granddaughter has lived… and the evidence is splattered all over that once-pristine quilt I gave her before I passed out of that world”.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: I have a routine when I write, and as I’ve mentioned it several times before, a large part of that routine is curling up under a raggedy quilt my great grandmother made many, many years ago before she died. I’ve always loved this quilt; it’s made appearances throughout my childhood, traveled with me to college and helped me survive my divorce. Call it an adult security blanket, if you will, but it’s one of my most treasured belongings. Never mind the dozens of gaping holes, the faded flowers, the unraveled and separated seams, the catalog of unidentifiable stains. I plan on repairing some of its more desperate tears and holes, but part of me wants to just cherish it “as is”. A battle-worn shield, a TV tray, a writing desk, a cure-all, a protective barrier from the everyday injustices of being an adult- and, perhaps most importantly, a connection to my beloved great grandmother who showered me with her strength and generosity while she was alive, and continues to do so even now, more than ten years later. Love you, Moner. Miss you.
Love & Squirrels.