For weeks now I have had a hard time writing. It seems like something that should be easy. I’m not lacking life experiences, I’m not lacking great ideas, lovely new phrases or bratty things to be upset about. But the truth is, things have been so challenging of late. With the renovation, my grandfathers death and my diagnosis with severe carpal tunnel, everything has turned to this strange shade of gray that my life rarely turns. But, like anyone, I have a means of coping with stressful times, though I will admit that it’s not your average adult way.
All of my thoughts of my grandfather, my sadness over his death and the loss of what will never be between us has gotten me thinking of my other grandparents. I have only one surviving grandparent now. My grandfather is a stoic man who hugged me for the first time when I was in my teens after my grandmother died. (You may remember my post about the teacup she gave me from last year.) I loved her in a way that I have never loved anyone. I loved her without malice, resentment or understanding that sometimes the people you love leave you. She may be the only person in my life of whom I have only fond memories.
My favorite memory of her is that she would sew us blankets. She was a regular ol’ country gal who canned and cooked and made just about everything herself. And when I am sad, sick, tired or just lonely, I pull out the tattered rags of the last blanket she ever made me.
I was 11 years old and she had made a blanket for my cousin that was amazing. It was an all flannel quilt that was incredibly soft. I begged her to make me one for my birthday that year. She took me to the fabric store and allowed me to pick whatever I wanted. Instead of concentrating on colors, I walked through the flannel section, running my fingers over the panels with my eyes closed, choosing only the softest ones. She laughed at the technique, but recognized that matching wasn’t important to me.
I ended up with a mostly pink blanket made out of predominately baby centric fabrics. Being that I was a tomboy, this was a rather hilarious juxtaposition to my nature. But she made it with the same care and love she would have it I had chosen nothing but baseball themed fabrics, and receiving it on my birthday maybe one of the most amazing memories I have of her. The way she loved each of her grandchildren as if they were the only one she had in the world is a gift that not many possess. I don’t know if I have ever felt quite so uniquely special as I did on that day.
And to this day, I pull that blanket out of the closet and layer it on top of my duvet cover whenever I need a little extra comfort in life. It no longer lives on my bed, though it is only within the last few years that I conceded to my husband and put it in the closet. I haven’t washed it in years because I can still smell her and I’m afraid that washing it will take away the subtle whiffs of her scent that I get when I wrap it around me. Not to mention it is so fragile at this point that I don’t know that it would survive being washed.
I do not have a drink when I’m stressed. I don’t eat candy bars, cry to my friends or even veg out in front of the TV. Instead, I wrap a nearly 20 year old blanket around me while I lie in bed and feel just as I did when I was eleven years old holding it for the first time, uniquely special and loved.