The Case of the Missing Blanket

My five kids are all holding the baby quilts their grandma made them.  All except one.

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And now I’m seeing the value of photo shop. I took a good 50 pictures and this is our best.

My mom has made a quilt for each of her grandchildren—a gift for being brave enough to actually come into this world  The two she made for my first two boys were virtually identical.  The only thing that distinguished the quilts was the one was slightly more green than the other but after a lot of washings, you could hardly tell them apart.

Everything else was the same.  She used the same intricate pattern that required I don’t know how many stitches and the same special fabric that she completely bought out when she discovered that fabric was being discontinued.  It was really soft and silky and she used the fabric carefully because she didn’t have much of it left.

The boys took their blankets everywhere.  They were both my little Linus’s.

And then we lost one.

Since they had been about everywhere, I searched the church, restaurants, friends’ houses, parks, the entire path by the lake that we always walked.  I remember walking the trail again six weeks after we had lost it, just sure that I was going to find it neatly folded on a bench.   But the blanket was gone.

I couldn’t stand to tell my mom.  I felt so guilty about it and besides, I knew she was busy making another one for my third son who would be arriving in a couple of months.

But the fighting between the two boys was awful.  We were living far away from home at UCLA, and I was already a basket case as pregnancies tend to do that to me.  I really didn’t even know what to do when they fought.  Of course I had taught them to share, but your blankee is the one thing you shouldn’t have to share.  I didn’t even know whose blanket they were even fighting over so property rights were a little hard to establish.

I finally decided that we would need to get another quilt.  But I might as well build a rocket as try to make a quilt.  Every attempt by every kind woman to teach me any part of quilting process has been a complete failure.

I look back now and wish I had told my mom.  I know she would have been understanding, but I was too ashamed. So I decided to approach my neighbor all business like about my problem.  She had a little quilt making business on the side.  I explained to her the problem rather matter-of-factly and then she started asking details about the quilt. She had my mother’s quilt in her hands and was looking at it with admiration.

I was basically wanting that same exact quilt but didn’t want it to be too much trouble for her.  Plus we didn’t have a lot of money.  But as she started asking questions, I realized just difficult this quilt was going to be to replace.  Would it be o-kay if the quilt was machine stitched instead of hand stitched?  Yes.  Did the fabric need to be the same?  Well, sort of.  Did I want a decorative border around it? Well, yes.  Did I need to have such an intricate design on it?  Well, yes, no, I don’t know!  And then I started bawling.  I was a mess, but who wouldn’t be?  Seven months pregnant, far away from home, and two angry boys with only one blanket to soothe them?  And at the moment I felt like such an utter failure as a mother.  I mean what mother lets her boy lose his precious blankee?

My friend calmed me down and told me she felt she could come up with something that would work.  I left feeling both foolish and comforted.

A few weeks later there was a knock at the door.  We opened it to find a large silver wrapped package waiting for Ben.  Ben excitedly opened it to find a new green quilt with a big “B” sewn in the middle of it.  I was worried that Ben wouldn’t like it, but the “B” was an inspired touch.  He loved it and went to sleep with it that night.

My friend wouldn’t let me pay for the blanket.  She had three boys of her own and her husband was also in graduate school so I’m sure she didn’t have plenty of resources either.  I don’t know how long a quilting business can last if you just give your quilts to your clients.  But when I asked her about it, she simply explained, “This morning I prayed that the Lord would help me find an opportunity to serve someone and then you knocked on my door.”  Of course that made me bawl even more.

Thank you, Audrey.  I will never forget your kindness.  And thank you Mom.  Someday I will learn your art.

What unexpected kindness to someone show you?

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2 comments

  1. Such a sweet story. Mom has made a quilt for Emily and James but Caroline got left out (more than understandably so since she was born four months after dad died.) We just gave her a blanket from target and so when she lost it on a trip to Utah it was easy-peasy to replace. Emily has had a couple close calls with hers. One time on our way back from vacationing in San Diego we noticed about an hours drive outside of the city that we had left it. So we turned around in rush hour traffic to go get it. And then the closest encounter was when we left it in the cargo compartment in the plane during the Warsaw to Frankfurt leg of our trip when we moved back to the states. We just happened to miss our connection ( which was a blessing in disguise) and ended up having to spend the night n Frankfurt. If we had made our flight I don’t know if we would have ever seen that blanket again. We contacted the airline but they hadnt found it. i was soooo sad. i tried one last time as we were waiting at the gate for our flight the next day and someone had turned it in! a stewardess literally ran to our gate and handed us the blanket as we boarded the plane…. I think she understood the gravity of the situation. And you know Frankfurt is no teeny tiny airport! We were in a completely different terminal. It was awesome!

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