Last year, the day before Father's Day, we went out to eat at Red Robin. While we waited for our food, we gave Steve his hand-made father's day cards, because I refuse to pay four bucks for a card, even if they CAN put my feelings into words better than I can. After a delightful Banzai burger and bottomless steak fries, we load the kids (only two at the time, weird..) into the car. Lillian makes some announcement that there is a surprise for Mommy at home too.
My mouth starts watering as I imagine the surprise ice cream treats in the freezer waiting for us at home. I am sure it MUST be ice cream of some sort. Yum...it has to be ice cream.
So, as any polite gift receiver would do, I just don't mention anything when we get home. I just wait. We put the kids to bed, and still no ice cream....weird. It must be ice cream with peanut butter in it that Lillian can't have, and we'll just enjoy it later! mmmm......
It all gets a little murky in my memory at this point, but here's what I DO remember. Steve and I were sitting in the basement watching something, a movie, or tv or something. And he says, "Oh, I gotta go get your surprise." and my mouth starts watering again.
I am only halfway paying attention to him has he plops this HUGE gift bag on my lap. STRANGE...being as it was a Father's Day celebration type of day. But let's not pretend I wasn't excited for myself. :) It was a huge present, in a bag I didn't recognize. There was tissue paper on the top, so I moved one of the pieces and caught the tiniest glimpse of what was in the bag... and I lost it.
I do not remember any one moment in my life that has been filled with so much emotion, ever. Well, good emotion anyway. I have had plenty of instantaneous cries in my life, but never good ones, like this. And believe me, I cried. hard.
About, oh...5 years or so ago, when I knew I was having a baby girl, or wait...was she already born? I forget when it was. Anyway, my mom was taking a quilting class, and I really wanted her to make a quilt for Lillian. So she and I (and possibly some sisters, I forget that too) went to Joann's fabric store in Sioux City. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but we spent HOURS in that store looking for material that I want or she wanted on this quilt. There is a LOT of fabric in Joann's.
So we finally got all the material, and she took it home and started the quilt. Every once in a while she would show me her progress, and she had quite a few of the squares already done.
and then she got sick.
and she didn't work on the quilt.
and then she died.
and the finished squares and extra material sat in her closet.
I was trying to figure out if anyone I knew quilted, because I really wanted that quilt done. I even thought about learning to quilt myself, just so I could finish it. All the scraps in a big huge bag in her closet were just too much of a reminder that she wasn't coming back to finish it. It was killing me.
And the next thing I knew it was in a huge gift bag covered with a few pieces of tissue paper. and now my tears as well. finished. the whole thing. A huge, beautiful, pink quilt.
Steve and Maria had worked together (or maybe mostly Maria) to get that quilt finished, and I'm forever grateful. It's not for Lillian. It's for me. I'm keeping it. I know that it's the type of thing that I'll get WAY more out of than she will. So I'm keeping it for me.
And whenever I have one of those days, where I just miss my mom, and I imagine myself just picking up the phone and calling her like so many other daughters do, or I'm particularly aware of her absence in my kids' lives, or whatever.... Whenever I need a little fix, I curl up in my quilt and cry a little. And it's as good as it can get for now.
even better than ice cream.