My mom was skilled in all the homemaking arts. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening, baking, sewing. She regularly made hand-fitted dresses for my formals and proms. I recall laborious hours trying to follow her left-handedness in learning how to knit. I really regret that I never was patient enough for her to teach me how to use the sewing machine. Later in her life, she took up quilting as a hobby.
When our baby was born, and we named her Vicki Jo after my mother, we received a special package in the mail from my Grandma Helen.
In both Jeff's family and mine, we have a unique and beautiful relationship between our parents' families, even though our parents' marriages did not work. See, Grandma Helen is my dad's mom. And yet, after my parents divorced, Helen and Granddad Lewis remained close to my mother. She would go out to Boulder City to visit with us, and Helen and Lewis would come to Kansas and stay with us while Mom went on vacation. In some ways, they were closer with my mom than they were with their own son, my dad. Eventually, they even became close with my stepdad Mark, inviting him out to visit as well.
Jeff's mom is also close with his dad's mom, Memaw. In fact, Memaw even works as the bookkeeper for Zan's business!
I love these relationships because they remind me that family is so much more than blood. It is shared experience and empathy and love and reconciliation.
In the special package we received from Grandma Helen was a quilt. It is a gorgeous pink and white quilt with butterflies of different patterns stitched onto it. It was just for Vicki Jo.
My grandma had also included a note with the history of the quilt:
What a powerfully special gift. We use it every day. Now it's on Vicki's bed.