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Thou Shalt not Leave a Mess

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God did a great job on the 10 Commandments.  And even though we as Christians today live our lives under grace and not under the law I have a suggestion for a relationship commandment.  Simply, “Thou shalt not leave a mess!” 

Man meets woman, woman meets man and they fall in love.  Then for various reasons, including love, the two get married.  A while later along comes the babies.  In the process of day-to-day living with your typical life pressures along comes the gap between the husband and wife.  There are a ton of reasons and excuses for D-I-V-O-R-C-E and we’ve heard them all!  Really, it doesn’t matter the reason; maybe she is a shrew, maybe he just doesn’t care if his family is likely to ask him who he is when he shows up one night for dinner.  Regardless of why divorce or breakup occurs, each partner needs to clean up their emotional messes before divorce is granted, especially if children are involved.

An adult child of divorce, a young man with their own marriage and a child on the way echoed something I’ve heard from a multitude of children, teens and adult children of divorced parents, “That’s their stuff and I am sick of carrying it.”  Another adult child said, “They were grown up enough to have sex and make me, now they need to be grown up enough to clean up the mess they left!”

What mess? Bitterness.  Hate.  Loathing.  Snipering.  I won’t if he/she does.  They have no right to_ _____________________.  He did, she did, it’s his fault, her fault, blame, point fingers and blame some more.

Worse still are the marriages where a third party is involved, second families started, and resentment over adultery, child support payments, custody issues, and parenting are soon huge bones over which people who once loved one another fight.  Enough already! Really enough!

Your kids have had enough.  Your ex-spouse has had enough.  Your new spouse and/or the new spouse of your ex-spouse has had enough. Thirty days or thirty years since you declared “I don’t anymore” and there’s still a tangled mess between you and your ex-spouse/partner? CLEAN IT UP!

Start with an apology, own your mistakes, CLEAN IT UP or at least knock down the pile some!  If you were a shrew, a nag, a perfectionist, an unfaithful partner ADMIT it and say, “I’m sorry”!  If you were a workaholic, a spender, an alcoholic, a” I promise…” and it never changed, ADMIT IT.

Every person in your life, including your current spouse/partner will benefit and probably even thank you for it.

I Corinthians 13 says love never gives up, leaving a mess is giving up, and if you loved enough to vow to love until death do you part, then see it through to the final end not just the divorce becoming final. And if you need to find out if you have a mess to clean up I suggest:

-If you’re asking, most likely so.
-Ask your children.
-Ask your current spouse/partner.
-Ask your ex.
-Can the two of you sit and discuss your children’s issues without snipe remarks or jagged reminders?
-Ask yourself.

On behalf of divorced kids everywhere and every age,
–Faye

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When Comes the Healing?

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Photo original to author, all rights reserved, not to be used without permission.

He was special, there could be no doubt of that, not to anyone.  Yes, this little guy who looked to be sleeping soundly had my heart wrapped around his tiny, puffy finger.  Since the day he came into the world all covered in wet gunk and wailing loudly, he was special.

At first they kept him because he might be sick, but after several days of negative tests his parents had been ready to get him home.  His big sister waited for him, it was time to make the family unit whole and under one roof.  That pretense lasted a few days.  His biological parents marriage was already shattered, the impact of his illness simply gave it breath to implode.

Back to the hospital and he would stay for 60 days, 45 of those in a coma.  The doctors gave him little hope to survive, gave us little hope to bond with our boy. But I made the trek daily, he shouldn’t be alone.

A few hours before work, then five hours at work and another five at his bedside, often going back to work or working beside his bed, sometimes spending the night if he had a bad day.  Those days are a blur in my memory now.  A long tiring, exhausting two months of staying with him as much as possible, whenever possible.

I remember the cocoon like room in Children’s Hospital, the never ceasing beeps and swirling sounds of equipment breathing for him, living for him.  And I remember the day they became quiet and he surprised everyone by living under his own steam.  I recall clearly the kindness of nurses who offered me food and drink, blankets and pillows as I stayed by his side.

I remember the quiet swish of the nurses scrubs as she laid him in my arms and he curled up on my chest and shoulder and slept on for the first time in over 45 days. I remember singing him every song I could recall; silly songs, hymns, praise songs, children’s songs and telling him every story I could remember and dozens and dozens I made up.  I told him about his family and all the possibilities for him in the world.  I told him about ice cream, baseball and Jesus.

He and I waited too.  The staff and I walked around his father’s dirty underwear on the floor and his near empty bag on the sink until I broke down and picked them up, embarrassed by their presence and their message.  It wasn’t my place to be there alone with this precious boy but I was, I was and I wanted to be. 

It wasn’t until weeks had passed that one of the nurses told me how remarkable she and the other staff thought I was for my dedication to my son and my ministry.  Awareness flew in my heart, and I apologized telling her I appreciated the kindness but I wasn’t the mother, I was the aunt. I knew his mother came two or three times a week for brief visits, spoke with doctor’s by phone and waited for her marriage to fail or survive, her son to live or die. The pressure was enormous and too much, it was overwhelming and she did what she had within her to do. Never giving up but watching as what seemed like a nightmare play out before her with her son center stage. That’s a difficult place to be in. I understood that and I willingly made sure our boy didn’t want for company.

Toward the end of 60 days I sat with my sister and heard the grim prognosis…blindness, brain damage, feeding tubes, never speaking or walking.  Their advice was to put him in a home and get on with living.  His mother bravely took him home where she and our family took care of him until he reached the age of 12 and it was impossible to continue. My sister’s life revolved around her son and his needs. She gave everything.

For a while we thought he would prove them totally wrong.  He learned to drink from a bottle, he reached for toys, he responded to sounds, he was behind in development but he was getting there.  But at his first year check-up the bottom fell out again.  That same scenario repeated itself until he was developmentally a two to six month old in a body aging and growing normally.  His brain was destroyed, he lives today, now 19, with less than 5% of his brain stem.  As I write this he is in a different Children’s Hospital, a very sick young man, beating the odds again.

His mom is front and center, caring for her son with deep love and compassion, fighting for him every step of the way.  His dad, his mom’s second husband, watches with pain in his heart as his son lays ill.  His biological father struggles to find his place in his son’s life.  His sisters cringe inside as they soothe and comfort him.  I sit and speak with him and it is me keeping tab by phone this time.

Healing.  We all want that for our precious boy.  Someday he’ll have it. 

Healing now though, ultimate, complete healing I see may be the healing of the wounds and scars of a long ago young marriage gone bad that remain like open and raw pieces of rotten meat. Like the bleeding pieces of two hearts who lost their way in that special first love and never to refind one another, or find some release from pent up anger and pain.

It may be the solidifying of his support system, all of us pulling in the same harness for him, all focused on his best well-being. 

It could be the healing of a heart within a man, more than a stepfather but a true dad in every sense of the word, who bonded with our special child. A heart who knows that this boy is the heart of his heart, soul of his soul just not flesh of his flesh nor bone of his bone but his son all the more. 

Or perhaps the healing of regrets in the heart of a biological father who allowed circumstances to keep a gap between he and his first born children for 17 years. Who struggles, it seems to me, to find a place in his biological sons life.

Only God knows what ultimate healings He has planned for and through this one very special life. Through and because of the life of our special boy…healing is just waiting to be invited in to stay.

Yes, our boy is so special and he still has my heart wrapped around his little finger.

–Faye

“Am I Messing Up My Kids” by Lysa TerKeurst

Note from Faye:  This blog series, “Am I Messing Up My Kids” is based in part on a book by that title by Lysa TerKeurst.  Copies of that book are readily available from many sources.  While it is not necessary to have a copy to participate and enjoy this blog series it will be helpful to you if you have one.

Every mother alive who loves her children has at one point or another asked herself, “Am I messing up my kids?”  Motherhood is tough.  It isn’t for the weak hearted.  It can fill you with love and pride in one moment and panic and uncertainty the next.

In Chapter One of the book written by Lysa TerKeurst above she relates how she has taken her 14-month old daughter to a local store for a little shopping.  Mom is prepared.  Bottles.  Snacks.  Toys.  What she didn’t plan on and couldn’t foresee is her daughter’s fascination with manuals behind the cash register that could not be shaken.  Mom ended up leaving the store and later crying in a bathtub.  “I am so completely spent.  I have nothing left to give.  What’s wrong with me?  I am so afraid I am going to be a complete failure as a mother.  Lord, am I going to mess up my kids?”

Two things stood out for me here.  One, sometimes no matter how well prepared we are our kids are going to be focused on anything but what we have as plan A, B, C or Z.   Part of being a child is the inability to yet control their emotions, their wants, and their will power.  That’s why they need parents, to teach them these things.  Two, we’ve all had that “Am I messing up my kids?” moment.

Our now eleven then four year old daughter (who we adopted) came to live with us full time just after her fourth birthday.  My first “Am I messing up my child” meltdown occurred following another frustrating and fruitless custody hearing.  By then the biological mother had moved out of our home.  The biological father could not be located.  Who held legal custody of Kiana was unclear as no one had complete paperwork and the Tennessee courts and Department of Human Services were not cooperative.  We had been unsuccessful in enrolling Kiana in Medicaid or AllKids and without legal custody couldn’t add her to our health insurance coverage at work.  As my husband and I were petitioning the court here for custody the red tape, legal hoops and what often seemed ridiculous demands upon us were frustrating.  We left the court that day no further along than what we had been when we went in.  Kiana was tired and hungry and she was whiny.  “Mama,” she asked from her car seat properly installed in our car, “I thought you were going to take care of me!”

Only a few weeks after Kiana had moved in she’d climbed into my lap and asked me if I would promise to always take care of her.  I’d promised to always do my best to.   Her four year old heart heard, “Yes I will.”  That day’s court appearance didn’t make it seem to be something I could do.  So as we pulled through the McDonald’s drive-thru for a Happy Meal with chocolate milk tears were streaming down my face.  Was I going to be a failure as a mother?  Were we going to mess up this precious child’s life even more than it already was?

The author recovered from her doubt ridden moment.  I recovered from mine.  Though both events were radically different in their reasons for occurring they held one thing in common.  Both the author and I turned to God with our fears and learned to keep our Bibles handy and our hearts open.

Kiana’s adoption has been settled since 2006 and as a woefully incomplete and totally imperfect Mom I love motherhood nonetheless.  Like the author, I do consider motherhood a calling and I do recognize that decisions Kiana’s dad and I are making now will shape her morally, ethically, emotionally and physically long past Kiana to her great-great-grandchildren.

Refresh Your Soul:

On pages 14-15 are devotional activities and commentary based on Psalm 23:3 and I Peter 1:5-7.  As you complete these open your heart to what God is encouraging you to obtain from this Bible study.  Share with the group as you feel lead.

And anyone wishing to share their “am I messing up my kid” meltdown story please feel free to do so knowing WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE!

Music to help enrich you suggestion:  “Generations” by Sara Groves from her CD Conversations released in 2001.  “Remind me of this with every decision generations will reap what I sow I can pass on a curse or a blessing to those I may never know…”

The Quilt – Part 4 – The Ending

…Was everything a lie?  How much had Todd deceived me?  Even more important, how much was he going to keep deceiving me?  How deep did Todd’s problem go?

I looked at Grandma’s Quilt, all the crazy patterns and colors; it looked like a giant jigsaw puzzle someone put together without the benefit of the picture on the front of the box.  It was more a symbol representing our lives it was proof you can take the bits and pieces of your life, the good and bad, give them to God and He makes your life into a quilt for His glory.  Oh, how it hurts in the making.

Looking back on that night, when Todd revealed to me a very painful part of who he was, my own hurt was crushing.  It was so difficult to reconcile the man who, on that night and so many others in our future, would wrap Grandma’s quilt around us tightly and call out to God for himself, for me, for Ally, for release from “his thorn in his side” and for our marriage.

The official diagnosis would be “sexual addiction” which sounds awful and certainly made me, the wife, feel sick inside.  Todd didn’t feel so great either.  It’s a dark diagnosis and not one you get up and request prayer for in Sunday School or church.  It’s not something you confess to your friends or at marriage conferences.  It doesn’t come up in casual conversation.  So, although our pastor knew and a few friends Todd and I found our way through each day of our marriage with God, one another and professional counseling.

More and more in my heart, every time Todd “slipped” and I’d find out or he’d confess willingly the quilt became an engrained symbol of our marriage.  It comforted me in my deepest sorrows.  It was a shield when anger would erupt over us.  Todd often referred to it as his prayer mantel and many, many times I’d find him knelt in prayer weeping into Grandma’s quilt.

It took over 20 years for Todd to gain long term remission from sexual addiction.   I am just now free of the fear that feasted on the darkness of Todd’s addiction every time he is a little late coming home or doesn’t answer his cell phone when I call.   In 20 years there were over thirteen slips, not counting the kiss with Lisa.  Sometimes it was women he sought and met online, women he didn’t actually meet face to face but with whom he spun fragile hopes of futures he could never keep.   Twice it was actual women he “dated” and one he tried to carry further than dating but couldn’t.  The other encounters were online pornography.  Amazingly none of these slips ever led to physical fulfillment.   Todd’s therapist told us sexual addiction isn’t about sex, he was right.

The quilt had issues of its own…

There’s a rip I repaired with a piece of cloth from the bathrobe I was wearing the day a woman knocked on my door and introduced herself as someone Todd had been “dating”.  Stains from picnics, and Ally’s belief that chocolate should be another food group.  (Okay, she gets that from her mother.)  When pieces of the original twin size quilt began to wear I often used cut off pockets from Todd’s shirts to cover the places which resulted in there becoming places Ally and I would tuck “take along’s” into, probably not a great idea, as they are now “baggy”.

Through twenty-seven years of marriage I used odd pieces of cross stitch thread to sew up seams.  Quilting thread to replace old squares with new ones making stitches Grandma would be proud of.  Like Grandma’s original design my handiwork didn’t seem to follow any pattern yet it fit.  Only now I rarely notice the imperfections because they seem right at home on Grandma’s quilt.  Todd and I still take Grandma’s quilt out to our deck and wrap it around us as we talk or pray.  It has a place of honor hanging over the rocker we used in Ally’s room until it was no longer needed but has permanent residence in the corner of our bedroom.  A corner Todd refers to as his prayer closet.

Sometimes I just pass by the quilt and run my hand over it to remind me how wonderfully comforting it is, so soft, so us.  It’s the only thing Ally has requested we leave her when we pass away.  One day I want her to know how precious this quilt is but the time for her to know is yet to come.

Tonight just before I turn in my eyes linger on the quilt and I know I am blessed.  Blessed that my grandmother made it, told me stories about my grandfather and dad; blessed my mom had her part in it too.  I’m blessed my husband recognized the value in working hard for a healthy marriage and in prayer and that he chose Grandma’s quilt to be his prayer mantle.  Blessed that we have a bright, wonderful, talented 26-year-old daughter whose life is still entwined with ours and recorded as much on Grandma’s quilt as our family picture gallery and who recognizes the quilt’s importance.  I am blessed to have such a loving God who used Grandma’s quilt to cover our wounded hearts, celebrate our greatest victories and help us face the future because He uses it to remind us where we’ve been.

Our family is blessed to have such visual evidence of the handiwork of God.  Many women would have left Todd and many would disagree with my decision not to.  Recovery from sexual addiction is not easy and it seems it’s one of the addictions many people would rather go through life with blinders on about.  It’s a shame really.  Men or women who struggle with pornography or lust often wander through it alone and because they do they heap shame upon shame upon shame.

God took what was severely broken and made it whole.  Grandma took scraps and pieces and began a piece of art that was usable, functional and it became a recorder.  God takes all the pieces of our lives, ALL THE PIECES and though we rarely get to see the quilt from His eyes, one day we will.  One day we will.

The End of This Series of “The Quilt”

 

 

The Quilt – Part 3

Had it not been for Ally I would have huddled beneath Grandma’s Quilt the rest of the day.  Todd’s note of confession shattered something in me.   “We were so happy, weren’t we?”  I thought. Now the very foundation of the life we were building together seemed to have been shaken.  I wondered if it would withstand this assault.

With the quilt wrapped around me I knelt in prayer but found all I could do was weep and moan before God’s throne.  I watched Ally as she slept. She was so tiny and so innocent.  She was totally dependent upon Todd and me for her every need and she didn’t even know she was she just did what all babies do.   I knew God was doing the same for us, watching over us, He knew what happened and He knew what was still to come.  It was hard to trust my own emotions to help me make a decision about what to do or say about the betrayal I felt from Todd’s actions.  I tried hard to trust God.

My mind tried to rationalize Todd’s behavior.  “It was ONLY a kiss.  What’s a kiss compared to our lives together?” and “His needs must be unmet with me or he wouldn’t be seeking this outside our marriage.”

I also began to blame myself.  Had I become so consumed with first being pregnant and then with Ally that I had neglected Todd?  Since I had never seen a marriage on a day to day bases that would help me know how to handle marriage I must be missing something.  How inadequate was I?

The four and a half hours from the time I read the note from Todd and he arrived home were some of the longest in my life.  By then I had managed to stop crying and I sat in the rocker feeding Ally when I heard the garage door opener.  I tried to force myself to relax so Ally wouldn’t sense my apprehension and I offered Todd a weak façade of a smile when he came into the nursery and kissed us both.

The conversation we had to have I didn’t want to have in our house.  It felt defiled enough already.  Todd had brought home Chinese food so I suggested we eat outside on the deck.  I could put Ally’s monitor out there and we’d hear her if she needed us.  Todd agreed and as I moved the monitor Todd grabbed the quilt and the bag of take-out.

Silence was our companion as we first went about the business of setting out the food and arranging the chairs.  I went back in for sodas and when I returned Todd had removed the two separate chairs from the table and moved our two seater glider to the table.  Grandma’s quilt was also there and I allowed Todd to help me sit down and wrap us in the quilt.  We held the take-out containers in our hands but neither of us could eat.  The silence between us was so heavy I expected to be able to see it.

“I’m sorry.”  Todd said, putting his food down and taking mine from me.  He reached for my hands and held them.  “It was a stupid thing to do Honey.”

The tears made their way back into my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  My voice sounded weak and shaky as I replied, “How have I failed you Todd?”

He moved closer to me and completely enclosed us in the quilt.  “Oh my love you haven’t failed me.  This wasn’t your fault in any way.”

The man I’d married and whom I thought I knew began to confess that Satan had a stronghold in his life.  “Babe, you know how much this quilt means to us, right?”

“Sure.  It combines all of both our lives up to the point we were married.”  I said, puzzled as to how this had a part in Todd kissing Lisa

“Some of the things and clothing your grandma used and then you used to make this quilt remind us of great things and loving people.  Right?”  Todd quizzed.

“Yes.”

“A few of these patches from clothes you got from my mom aren’t happy memories for me.”

Anger welled up inside me.  I was trying to follow Todd’s reasoning but so far I was just confused.  If there were unhappy memories in some of the fabric provided from Todd’s clothing and things through his childhood I was sorry, obviously his mom didn’t know or she wouldn’t have included them.  But they were from his childhood and adolescence.  What did they have to do with the here and now?  With his kissing Lisa?

“Todd what are you saying?  I’m not understanding.”

He sighed deeply.  “I never told you that for about a year when I was in junior high my parents split up.  They were going to get a divorce.  That was the year I played football for the first time, the jersey – the purple and gold one – that reminds me of that year.”

Again if felt as if the foundation of our lives was shaken.  “How come you never told me?  You always said your parents had a wonderful marriage.”

“After Dad came to have a relationship with Christ they did but before then it was pretty rocky.  Dad moved out for a year and I spent one week with him and one week with Mom.  It was crazy.”

“I can see that.  I’m glad God came into your Dad’s life and your parents salvaged their marriage, but Todd how does that year relate to your kissing Lisa?” I begged to know.

The silence again grew oppressive.  I fought not to fill the silence with my own words of hurt and anger, but I succeeded in remaining quiet.  Into that silence and stillness Todd’s next confession dropped like a boulder into the middle of our lives and the ripples would never cease.

“My dad had me…well…his girlfriend…” it seemed he couldn’t speak around a lump in his throat then the words gushed out as if a dam had burst, “Dad had me sleep with Cathy so he would know who she was with when she wasn’t with him when he was away.  It was like she was my part-time girlfriend too.  Ever since then I’ve found it impossible to stay away from women who offer me quick thrills.  I thought when we married it would be behind me.  I think I was wrong.”

When we married Todd had told me he was a virgin too.  He never gave a hint his parent’s marriage wasn’t always solid.  He even told me he wanted a marriage just like his parents had.  What about all the stories about his Dad being a deacon in their church and how they went to church as a family his whole life?  What did he mean “impossible to stay away from women who offer…quick thrills”?  Was everything a lie?  How much had Todd deceived me?  Even more important, how much was he going to keep deceiving me?  How deep did Todd’s problem go?

To be continued…

The Quilt – Part 2

If you were to ask 95 percent of the people in our lives through the years they would tell you that Todd and I had a healthy marriage with no conflicts.  That was our public life.  But there would also be 5 percent who could tell you of another side, a uglier, darker side of our marriage.  The side we kept silent about in small group Bible studies and worship services.  A side we didn’t tell anyone about.

I remember the first “slip” as clearly as if it were just yesterday.  Todd and I moved to his hometown so he could be closer to his mother when his dad died.  I’d never had a problem finding a job in radio before but I was sure that God wanted me to be in Christian radio and Bentonville didn’t have any opportunities.  Not within any reasonable driving distance.  So, since Todd was anxious to start our family we agreed we’d work on having our first baby and I’d be a stay-at-home mom.

We were blessed that I got pregnant right away and seemingly sailed through the months Ally was in my womb with remarkable ease.  I enjoyed getting the nursery ready, painting a beautiful butterfly mural on the walls, clouds on the ceiling and a white picket fence border.  I refinished furniture and sewed curtains, quilts and clothes for our daughter.  I didn’t have a clue that Todd was seeking companionship elsewhere until Ally was two weeks old.

One of the best pieces of advice my mother-in-law gave me was to sleep when Ally slept so I often would wrap up in Grandma’s crazy quilt and have time with God before falling asleep beside Ally’s bassinet.  Todd came home one afternoon for lunch and when he found both his “girls” asleep fixed himself a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and left me a note.

“Came home for lunch and found you and Abby sleeping.  You both looked so beautiful!  I hate to bring a bit of rain into our lives my love but I have a confession…I kissed Lisa at the conference the weekend before Ally was born.”

Todd’s confession sent me back to huddle beneath Grandma’s quilt and to cry out to God…it was a provision only God can provide because I was to find out there was a whole part of my husband I didn’t know and never dreamed existed…

To be cont….

The Quilt – Part 1

Growing up Grandma Mary and I spent every afternoon after school together and during the summer I lived as much at her house as I did my own.  Grandma Mary was my dad’s mother and when he passed away when I was just eleven months old she and my mother became a parenting team.  Grandpa Jack passed several years before I was born so she and Mom were two widows who took their difficult circumstances by the lapels and held on for dear life.

With Mom holding a full time job Grandma and I spent a lot of time together.  During the summer days and after school during the school year Grandma taught me to cook, bake, sew, quilt, garden, and keep house.  Mom was my tutor and taught me how to play the piano.  Both of them taught me how to play Hearts.

When I reached the dating years no one in particular kept my interest and Mom began to worry that the lack of steady dates was due to the lack of having a father in our home.  Grandma Mary would simply kiss my forehead and tell Mom and I both that when the right man came along God would let me know and until then, as long as I honored God with my dating life, she was sure He had His reasons for leaving me single.

College days came and went and by the time I turned 30 I figured God’s plan for my life were as Paul recommended, I was to remain single so I simply left it up to God and focused on my career in Christian radio.  I still had plenty of opportunities to date but I didn’t feel as “need to” in that area anymore.  Though I no longer lived at home with Mom and Grandma Mary when she passed away it was as if I were a little girl all over again.

Grandma Mary was diagnosed with cancer just after I finished college and the end came swiftly.  When Mom and I were cleaning out her house we found a box marked with my name on it in the sewing room.  Mom seemed to know about the box and the contents, I could tell by the way she handed it to me before she spoke, “Honey, Grandma wanted you to have this.  Do you want me to leave you alone to open it?”

It seemed foolish to not open a gift from Grandma with my Mom, so we opened it together.  Inside was a quilt.  Not just any quilt but one that Grandma had made incorporating the one she’d made me as a child.  It had material from my favorite clothes as well as from my Dad, Mom and Grandma & Grandpa’s.  The pattern had advised selecting contrasting or complimentary colors but Grandma often had her own ideas about colors.  Some of the squares were made with patterns and colors you’d expect to see together and some of weren’t.

Now Grandma had turned the single bed sized quilt from my girlhood into a double sized quilt by using material from my favorite clothes from high school and college, including blue jeans and tee-shirts.  It seemed like every hue and pattern that could be put together had found their way into my quilt.  Mom and I laughed through tears as we recognized the clothing the quilt had come from.  Each square full of memories, some funny, some sad, some memorable due to the lessons I’d learned when a particular piece was from a shirt or pair of jeans I had loved at that time.

When I took my “crazy quilt” home and put it on my bed it felt as if Grandma Mary was standing right there beside me smoothing out the wrinkles along with me.  Many nights I would fall asleep the quilt having dried my tears.  It saw me through a couple “almost” relationships and when Todd came along my crazy quilt was a way to share my past with him.  We cuddled beneath it while watching movies from my sofa and took it with us on romantic picnics in the park and to the beach.

Todd asked me to marry him when I was sick with the flu on Valentine’s Day, wrapped in Grandma Mary’s crazy quilt with a fever of 102 degrees because he’d waited long enough and couldn’t wait until I was feeling well and able to look “presentable”.  With my Mom’s help and after I asked Todd’s mother if she had any clothing that Todd had worn earlier in his life and she’d given me a variety of “men” color and patterned clothing – including Superman pj’s, and football jerseys – we turned the double bed sized quilt into a queen sized bed quilt that we used from the beginning of our lives together as man and wife.

In those first few months of married life I never thought of Grandma’s quilt teaching me more lessons on love, forgiving and endurance but it did.

To be continued….