I’m a teacher, so I can say that. Whew.
They’ve got it rough. Growing up during a pandemic, with the news and the fear and illness and school closings… they take it in. They take it all in. Can we keep them safe from all of this? How is your family holding up? Some sick, some no symptoms and well. Some afraid.
That’s hard on kids, I know.
When I was a child, my mom was sick. Terminal illness, they said. Two years left.
Those were sad and crazy times. My family had moved, and didn’t know many people in the area. Our relatives were in other states, and could come help us out some of the time, but not for long. Dad traveled for work, so times were tough for my ill mom and us four kids.
Talk about worry. I was seven years old, and I remember staring down the long hallway towards my mom’s room where all was dark and hushed. Stay out, they said. They didn’t know if she was contagious or not. I didn’t want her to die. Didn’t want to move away. What would happen to us kids?
Kindness happened, that’s what.
Our classmates’ families took us in. All of us kids, for sometimes weeks at a time would be invited to join in another family from church or school. Can you picture 8 kids running from one house to catch the morning school bus? Would you like to cook dinner for 10 after a long day at work? People did that for us. When I look back on that as an adult, as a mom, I see how spectacular that was in its simplicity. They shared what they had. Kids shared beds, shared their food and chairs at suppertime, shared in the chores.
One particular Christmas was worse than the rest. (That’s another story). I remember saying prayers with a family, and trying to go to sleep. But I was worried.
My friend’s grandma was there, and she took my little hand in her big arthritic wrinkled hand.
“See that quilt on the bed?” she asked. I looked at the big, dark wool crazy quilt covering my friend’s bed. “Just scraps.” Grandma said. “Just scraps and leftovers. I cut these pieces out of my husband’s worn out work pants. This one’s the good parts of an old coat.” She showed me how each of the pieces of the quilt were really only worthless scraps. “It’s what ties them together that makes it beautiful,” she said, tracing her finger along the lines of hot pink embroidery thread, stitched along each seam. “You take what you have, and then you stitch the pieces together with love and make it something beautiful. That’s the same thing you do with life.”
I covered up with her quilt that night, feeling grateful for the rough wool against my cheek. I felt the pink stitches with my own fingers, tracing along the lines where she had embroidered the crazy shapes together. I felt safe and secure and loved.
Thank you, Grandma H., and all the grandmothers in this world who quilt and take the time to talk with kids to help them to find peace in their worries. Help us, God, to take the scraps of our days, the troubles of our lives, and turn them into something beautiful.
Let’s stitch that wreckage together with some hot pink embroidery thread, and help someone feel warm and safe and loved.