I keep rewriting this post. For some reason it is a tricky one to get right.
Let's give it another go then and see if I get it this time.
I finished the quilts for Craft Hope Project 13. The second quilt is still waiting on a binding, but I'll finish that in an evening. Then off they go to two families in crisis to create some sense of security in an insecure moment of their lives. Seven years for one plus four years for the other and the quilts are finally done. I'm giving them away.
In truth, these two quilts are stitched to some of the most insecure moments in my own life. They don't carry the heaviness of the crisies we've weathered along the way but they are linked inseparably to that time in my life. Above all else the quilts carry my heartfelt and honest belief that everything is truly okay. That we are going to make it through. That no matter how unreal it may seem right now there will be a silver lining somehow, somewhere.
I hope that is the energy they bring to the families to whom they ultimately end up. That yes, this is a frightening and unsure time but you are safe and held in love.
Our story goes like this…
When Sage was two he ended up in a pediatric ICU, unresponsive, intubated, and hooked up to more machines than I can remember the names for. There had been a prolonged seizure and a Flight for Life and a spinal tap and lots of rushing about by furrowed-browed specialists. There were so many wires and monitors and so many hours of simply not knowing how this was going to turn out. Indeed, we stood there at that precipice that few parents do, wondering which way it was going to go and holding fiercely to the believe that everything was going to be okay despite the fact that nothing seemed to be looking that way. Somehow we never let go of the belief that we were going to be all right – all of us – and that our family was going home together and that our life would come back together just like before somehow.
But it was hard in that sterile, unnatural environment to not get shaken. Friends came steadily with homeopathic remedies, flower essences, amazing food, massage and chiropractic care, and their standing by us with the same belief – he was going to be okay. There was no other option. As one friend put it, "This is not Sage's legacy. This is not his story. He is going to be okay."
But the quilts. Back to the quilts. On day two in the ICU I left Sage with Pete so that I could take a shower. When I returned our stark hospital room had been brightened by a handmade quilt -just his size – that draped his still body.
It was from Project Linus, delivered by a volunteer during the few minutes I was away. I stopped in my tracks in the doorway of our room, staring at the quilt. Somehow that blanket transformed my experience in that hospital. Seven years later I still vividly remember the first thought I had upon seeing it: He is coming home. He has to come home. Someone made him a quilt.
We still have that quilt. It's red and black and white with cats and mice on it. Know these days as the "better-maker-blanket", it is requested only when Sage is feeling under the weather. He loves to snuggle under it so that it can work its magic on him. "Where did I get this again?" he asks occasionally and I tell him that someone we never met made it as a present for him when he was not feeling well and it made us all feel wonderful.
That week in the hospital shaped my parenting forever. In so many ways. Much of what you see here I suppose you could say was born of that week in the ICU. And the power of that simple gift of stitching together some bits of fabric into a toddler-sized quilt has been profound for me too.
So that is why sewing these quilts became so important. The robot quilt was begun during that time in my life, just before Sage ended up on his helicopter flight alone to the hospital. The cowboy quilt I started when someone else in our small town found their own two year old boy hanging in the balance as well. So their roots are similar, and the shared vision of every stitch is the same: Hope.
Sage came home with us in just under a week that October. Things were not back to normal, especially in our own hearts and heads. Worry bordering on obsessive was the norm. But then, ever so slowly, things mellowed. Within a year our worry began to lessen. We began to believe our own story that everything was going to be okay. In the meantime we took exceptional steps to insure good health. And we've never looked back. In the end, I guess that journey was a blessing. While I'd never wish to repeat it, the experiences of that week led us down a path of finding better answers to questions pertaining to our own health and safety. Because of how dire it became we addressed issues that had been there all along. Issues that connected to food and allergies and spectrum behavior and sleep disturbances and… then everything changed.
And now – poof! All of a sudden the worry is truly gone and it is seven years later and everything is better than okay. It is fantastic.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
If you are interested in sending a blanket or quilt to Project 13 I would be thrilled to hear about it. The deadline is coming up in under 2 weeks, so you'll have to sew fast! There are plenty of simple options from receiving blanket types to new-sew fleece. No need to get all fancy-pants. Just make something! If you do send me an email after you ship it and I'll send you a LuSa Organics coupon code. Just for you. With gratitude. If you are local, bring it to my booth at the Dane County Farmer's Market on Saturday and I'll ship yours with mine (and give you a free LuSa gift to boot, for niceness.)
Thanks for listening to my story. It is a big one that I try not to tell very often. But it is important. It has shaped us. In a good way after all. So really. Thanks for listening.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Can I too, take a moment to thank the closest network of support during that time? Your love and attention during that time was more important that you know. PR, IL, KD, LJ. I could not have made it through that dark place without your laughter, light, and unwavering belief that all was well. Aunt Joye, you helped bring Sage back in. I know that. It was amazing. Mom, Dad, DS, AB, MZ, and so many others, and the community that gathered to hold space for Sage in Baraboo that Saturday. We haven't forgotten. Not for a second. – love – R