My three favorites ways to express love:
2. Letting someone read without disturbing them
3. Patchwork quilts
When I was a child, my favorite play surfaces were patchwork quilts. Handily thrown across beds, they provided unlimited canvas for all sorts of play. Squares and patterns became roads, cities, rooms in a house, gardens, battlefields, mazes, and challenges.
Some of my quilts are relentlessly pressed into service, rotating between beds and the couch, sometimes used to cover a window or as a headboard. This patchwork, made by The Man's grandmother, my children's GG, hasn't had a moment's rest since it came into my life (which was after being stored for a number of years waiting for my then young husband to settle down. We can argue whether or not he settled, but I'm very glad that it's mine to enjoy as well now.)
The past couple of years of love by the children have been less than kind to some of the more delicate squares of GG's quilt. Which is okay. I know what to do about that.
I had moment's worry, before I began to stitch on a piece of my own personal fabric - a piece of me, really - that I may somehow disrupt the spirit in which the quilt was made and then gifted to the child who would one day become my husband. That the evidence of my work would be an intrusion and somehow dilute the maker's expression of love and comfort.
But, as I was stitching, I realized that extending the life and service of this beautiful creation was exactly what must be done To treat this quilt as if it were a static entity that must be preserved, away from time and wear, was inimical to its spirit.
I am honoured to have stitched in this patch, this bridge, between the past when it was made to the future when my children's children will drive their toy cars over it and jump their polly pockets from jungle piece to the safe valley, avoiding the lava pit squares and T-Rex ambushes (my boy, he can seriously man up any game with dolls).
While one day I would very much like to have the patience and skills to sew my own quilt, I am just as happy spending a bit of time to extend the life of the ones I already have, made by people I love. I may not be able to point at any particular patchwork quilt in this house and say 'I made it', but I can look almost everywhere and see evidence of my place in the world and how I form the binding between generations. Now the game for my child to play, on daddy's quilt that GG made, is to race the cars from the blue square freeway, past the flowers, to the patch that mom sewed on made of that fabric she used for a dress she made me. In and out between the patches and people. We all together make up the story.