Friday, March 23, 2012

Keep Sake

When my first daughter was born, my closest friend stitched her a quilt. It's baby-sized, crisp and white, with little satin pink roses and tiny buttons. Simple, charming, unique.

I treasure that gift -- the homemade-ness of it, the time it must have taken, the details.

But also because that same year my friend and her family moved away, and now we live in different states, and both of us have lives filled with children and schedules and so very much laundry. We hardly find time to talk.

One day my daughter, now three, placed her long-loved blankie in my lap.

"Fix it?" she asked.

At some point during a boisterous game of "house," some of her quilt's pale pink stitching had come undone. A button was missing. And it appeared that for some time, the seams on the corners had been coming loose.

"I'm sorry," I told her. "Mommy doesn't know how to sew."

And it's true, mostly. I don't know how to sew. I could learn, but it's more than that. Sometimes there are things you're too tired to learn, too old to learn, too young to learn, or too busy for. Sometimes there are places you don't venture into because they are too dangerous, or too difficult, or because you're sure they'll break your heart. Sometimes there are problems too big for fixing.

That day I tucked her baby quilt into a keepsake box in my closet. It can't come completely unstitched if it sits in there. It can't lose anymore buttons. But most importantly, I won't have to look at it and remember the truth: that some things are just not forever.

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