I was seated at the table, sipping a hot mug of tea and paging through Mom’s quilting books for Christmas ideas. Lessons were finished, the boys were playing and Munchkin was drawing. It occurred to me that sitting at the table with my tea and quilting books, I was the picture of my Mother. She used to sit at her table with her cup of French vanilla coffee; looking through her books or magazines and finding more projects that she would like to do than she would ever have the time for! Sometimes I would sit with her, and we would both point out the prettiest quilts, or the one with colors that looked perfect for one of us. Those were good times. Nothing spectacular, just the ordinary. I find that is what I miss the most, the ordinary things. Things that I never thought to really appreciate until they were gone.
Mom taught me how to quilt. The first quilt I sewed was for her. Looking back I think how horribly ugly it was. The colors were just whatever I could find, and none of the seams were straight! My hand-quilting was even worse than it is today. (I know, that’s REALLY hard to believe!) I quilted a heart in every block, because Mom always said that every quilt had to have at least one heart, since it’s made with love. It was a truly awful quilt, but that didn’t matter to her, she loved the fact that her daughter’s first quilt had been made especially for her. Fortunately, my sewing skills have improved quite a bit since then due to the amount of practice I’ve had. But she was still better than me. Whenever I had something that just was not working out, I’d call her. Mom would know how to fix it, she always did. If she didn’t know, she’d figure it out.
The old treadle sewing machine that Mom learned to sew on is still at the house. It belonged to her grandmother, and when it was passed on to her she treasured it, and the memories attached to it. I have my great-grandmother’s treadle machine and Aaron’s grandmother’s treadle machine in my care. I seem to inherit these sorts of things, just like Mom did. I love the beautiful antique sewing machines, but even more, I love the memories, the legacy that they remind me of. I think of the strong, Godly women who passed on their skills and their passion for making something beautiful and useful to show their family how much they were loved.
I think that was the main reason that they sewed, quilted, knit, and cooked for all of us. Yes, they enjoyed the process, but they also saw it as a way to express their love for us. I’ll never forget the mittens that great-Grammy Lila knit for each of us great-grandchildren each year at Christmas. I’ll treasure the baby blanket that Lillian made for her great-granddaughter, and one day Munchkin can wrap her own babies in it. I smile at the piles of socks that we found, knit by great-Grandma Millie, who I never met, but I can see her love for her sons by the wool socks that she knit to keep them warm. Every night, I sleep under a quilt made my Mom and my sister. I sleep under an expression of love.
These women lived their faith. It was evident because they loved. They were loved by so many because of the love that they had for everyone. They knew what it meant to be loved of God, and because of that their compassion and love for others was remarkable. I aspire to their legacy in so many ways. I miss all of them, most of all, my Mom. She left me a legacy. A legacy of love that makes me miss her desperately, but also a legacy of faith that sustains me in my grief. I remember her trusting God, and asking Him for grace and strength. So, in this very small way, I can begin to follow in her footsteps.