November 15, 2007

Made for Mom

When I was visiting my mom this past August she gave me a patchwork calendar that I had given her for Christmas the year I was 12. I made it from a kit bought from Canadian Living Magazine and it was my first attempt at quilting. The kit came with pre-cut fabric pieces, batting, a diagram of what the finished calendar should look like and very basic instructions.

It took me at least a week of evenings to finish. How I struggled to figure out the puzzle of fabric strips. There didn't seem to be enough seam allowance. The pieces didn't quite fit and I couldn't ask my mom for help since I was making it for her. I finally ended up slightly overlapping the pieces and zig-zagging them onto the background. In hindsight I realize that the main picture could have been constructed using the foundation piecing method, but at the time I didn't know better.

My mom saved everything my brothers and I made for her. Not to say she's a pack rat. To the contrary, she prefers her living space to be uncluttered and well-organized. She's tried to give us our boxes (contents sorted, labeled and carefully packed of course) at various times, but until recently we've all felt too unsettled to accept them. Personally, I think the burden of caretaking all our stuff is starting to wear on her in the same way that carrying the ring got to Frodo by the beginning of the third book.

For 25 years this calendar hung in my mom's home because I made it for her. This summer she moved into a condo with a tiny galley kitchen that has no wall space for a calendar. While I think she was secretly relieved to have a legitimate excuse to take it down, she expressed the concern that doing so would hurt my feelings. Um, Mom? After a 300 months of looking at the same calendar, I think you deserve a new one.

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