I spent some time today making curtains for my grandson’s bedroom. I have to go back and re-read that sentence, because he has not been born yet (due October 14), and my mind and my heart are not yet one on this matter of grandparent-hood. I doubt if my grandson will notice that the hem is not exactly perfect or that the header is not perfectly exact. There are, apparently, rules for such things, but I do not know them.
My mother-in-law knew all the rules for sewing, and when I sew, I always think about her. (It keeps me from thinking bad words.) She loved to sew and did so in a way that I can only describe as reverent. Occasionally, it became necessary for her to consecrate the entire living room with a sewing project. I still wear a bathrobe she made for me nearly twenty-five years ago. She presented it as an offering of love both to me and to the Lord, and I received it as such.
So many things have happened since Ma went to heaven. Two of my sons have no memory of her, but they know about her nonetheless, because her memory is part of our family lore. Her love for me, her daughter-in-law, was one of the greatest blessings I received with the gift that is my husband. “She’s mine!” Ma declared sometime after our engagement, and she spoke the truth.
Strong-minded and passionately interested in every detail of our lives, she shared her opinions freely. For whatever reason, this never seemed oppressive, and I never felt condemnation if we chose to disregard her advice. Most of the time, we were thrilled to have someone who delighted to be in our orbit, for whom no detail was too inconsequential to share.
What did you have to eat? How many jars of beans did you can? How many is that in all?
She would want to know that my grandson’s curtains are yellow with tiny John Deere tractors in parade formation. She would undoubtedly have noticed the irregularities of header and hem, but she would have held her peace.
By some miracle of bequest, I have her sewing machine. It knows more about sewing than I do, and if I left it switched on, I’m sure it would manage just fine without me, but I know this: Ma would be glad that I am using it today to sew curtains for her great-grandson. She would also like knowing that I am about to join the “Grammy Morin” club, because that is what my grandson will call me. This, like the sewing machine, is a miracle of bequest, a title too weighty for me to carry because it still has a life of its own. Still, somehow, I think the burden will be light because I saw what it takes to be a “Grammy Morin” by watching the original, and thus we carry burdens of being which are beyond us. I am a following sheep, an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God, and a bearer of fruit because I know Shepherd and Door and Vine. I do none of these things with perfection — irregularities of header and hem abound on every level — but they are an offering, and, like my grandson’s curtains and my twenty-five year old bathrobe, they are an offering of love.
Happy birthday, Ma. We miss you.