For years it laid, neatly folded in the old, battered gift box. Never forgotten, never used. A gift to my mother from her best friend Phoebe, shortly after my birth. I remember the day my mother gave it to me. I was 13 or 14, we still lived in L. A., and Mom and I sat quietly on her bed on a beautiful sunny April day. Mom told me the story behind the blanket, of how Phoebe gave it to her, for me. Mom thought it was beautiful...and so delicate, and she couldn't bear to use it. So she neatly folded the blanket, wrapped it in the tissue paper, and placed it back in the box, for some future time. She wanted to save it for me...save it for me to give to my child someday.
And so the years passed by, and throughout my high school days, every now and then I opened the box, carefully unwrapped the tissue, and unfolded the delicate blanket. And I would dream. Dream about the future. Dream about the day I would tenderly wrap my child in this blanket.
But fate can be cruel sometimes, and some dreams are not meant to come true.
Through it all I kept the blanket, wrapped in the same tissue, in the same old battered box.
Every now and then I came across it, and the sight of the box gave me cause to stop, and momentarily...remember.
A couple of years ago I decided I would give the blanket to either Amy or Kari, whoever had a baby girl. I never told them about this blanket, but last month I told Kari. And on Saturday, Amy will know. On Saturday I will pass this blanket to Amy. I will tell her the story of this blanket...the entire story, one she doesn't know. I will tell her how old this blanket is. And the real reason why I never used it. Whether she chooses to use the blanket, or just hold on to it, is entirely up to her.
I am filled with such emotion right now. Sadness, joy, and love, all at the same time. Sad because the blanket has always been a part of me...a part of my life...all my life. For years it served as a reminder of a broken dream. I feel joy because now the blanket will take on a new life. In a few days, it will be transformed into a symbol of joy. With love, this treasured blanket of dreams will be handed to another generation, for another generation. Four generations. Four women. Phoebe, Millie, Dona, and Amy. I hope Amy tells this story of love to her daughter. I hope she connects the story of this blanket to the women who have touched it.
The other night, I retrieved the old, battered gift box, unwrapped the faded tissue paper, gently unfolded the delicate blanket, and washed it for the very first time. There was no dirt, just a light layer of 48 years of dust.
When it was time to throw away the tissue paper, I felt a slight pang of regret. It's just paper...but it is also one of the last things in my possession my mother ever touched. I stood there, with the faded tissue paper in my hand, hesitant to let it go. Silly. It's just an old piece of paper. A musty, faded piece of paper. Maybe a part of me was afraid the memory of that day with my Mom would disappear with the paper. And I stood there. Wanting to let go, and not wanting to let go, all at the same time. Finally, I let go.
Here's to all those precious memories, locked deep within the momento's we carry throughout our lives. May they never fade and may we always carry them close to our heart. And pass them on to someone who will.
She loved the blanket. I cried.
Today I had many, many gifts for Amy and Baby D. But when I left, the blanket was the one gift she thanked me for.
She's not going to use it. She will keep it, and someday pass it on, just as I have done, just as my mother has done.
When I think back to that day long ago, sitting with my mother, with that blanket on my lap, I had no idea this simple interwoven fabric would touch so many other women. I think the women at the shower today left with feeling that they had witnessed something...that they were are part of something very special. And, so are each and every one of you.