Family

Debra-Lynn B. Hook: Due date is looming for grandmother’s hand-stitched quilt for her first grandchild

I am an over-the-moon, first-time grandmother-to-be who can’t seem to do what many have done before me. That is, make the baby a quilt.

The baby’s 89-year-old great-grandmother made one. By hand. She apparently sat in front of the TV for weeks and stitched together dozens of one-inch squares, which she presented at the couple’s baby shower before 30 friends and family, who all but gave the soon-to-be nonagenarian a standing ovation.

Likewise, my son’s former colleague, a busy, full-time researcher who Chris hasn’t seen in years, nonetheless took time to make a quilt with six big bunny appliqués, which she FedEx-ed to the couple from three time zones away.

As for me, Devoted and Only Paternal Grandmother, throughout Kate’s pregnancy, I have written poems to mama, papa and baby. I have gifted the trio with baby books and memory books, stuffed animals and a luxurious hiking backpack.

I decided early on, meanwhile, that my noteworthy gift to the baby would be a hand-stitched quilt. This would be the lasting memento, the treasure that would comfort the baby when he has colic, and in later years would prove how much his grandma loved him. And it would come to be, I deemed, despite my not knowing how to use a sewing machine, nor hand-sewing anything of any significance in decades.

While I did teach myself to hand-stitch a quilt for my youngest child before he was born, while I sewed and embroidered keepsake pillows for the other two when they were babies, it had been 25 years, and the learning curve, I knew, would be a hairpin highway.

Still, not to be outdone by Great-Grandma or Chris’ friend, I dug out my old thimbles and quilting needles. I spent some time on Etsy being inspired by Kate's favorite Beatrix Potter fabric for the top, and found a soft flannel gingham yellow for the back. I dared to order the fabric, and I laid Peter Rabbit and friends in a prominent place in my bedroom to remind me.

And remind me.

And remind me.

Every day I’d think about wrapping the baby in Grandma Bunny Love while the clock ticked down on Kate's pregnancy, 10 weeks, eight weeks, six weeks.

Every day, the quilt reminded me of what happens every time I I try to learn something new, like piano. I get to the major-minor keys, and I shut down. When the going gets rough for the aged learner, a nap seems a better option.

I considered blaming my lack of motivation on COVID, albeit two years out. I tried to hold responsible the immobilizing sciatica I’ve had for several months. Only the thing is, you don’t have to walk to make a quilt.

And then I remembered I have a friend for whom sewing is like breathing.

Maybe she could put the top and bottom and batting together?

And I could finish with the quilting, which is the most personal part of making a quilt anyway?

No problem, no shame, said my seamstress friend who one sunny day came and went with my quilt makings, which I thought would bring a long reprieve without Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail staring back at me in the middle of the night. Instead, in two days, she had the quilt stitched back together, and back in its place of reminding.

Where it has sat.

And sat.

And sat.

As a journalist, I have trouble working without a deadline.

Baby is due now in less than four weeks.

Time is getting tight.

That’s what I need: the pressure of tight time.

That, and maybe a little guilt: How will I feel when I see my new grandson wrapped in Great-Grandma’s 100 tiny squares while my quilt wanna-be gathers dust on the bunnies?

Like most mothers, including Peter Rabbit’s mommy who loved little Peter despite his naughtiness, I would do anything for my children and now, I can only, assume, my grandchildren.

Does that include making a quilt?

It better, or my name's not Grandma Bunny Love.

––––

(Debra-Lynn B. Hook of Kent, Ohio, has been writing about family life since 1988. Visit her website at www.debralynnhook.com; email her at dlbhook@yahoo.com, or join her column’s Facebook discussion group at Debra-Lynn Hook: Bringing Up Mommy.) ©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

This story was originally published May 17, 2022 1:00 AM.

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