Dear Morning Menders,
How can you know how happy I am when I call to check in with Mom and can’t find her anywhere?! It’s not every child who can trust that she is safe and engaged in some wild or mild excursion with the handful of women who were strangers to her just a few years ago. Day after day, month after month, year after year, you share your lives, errands, troubles, and celebrations so that Mom has to reluctantly carve out time for herself. She’s always off galavanting with you and it pleases me to no end! Thank you! You embraced her from the moment she showed up in town, swaddling her into your fabric folds.
When my mother-in-law moved here ten years ago, she knew not a soul but Steven, the boys, and me. Within a matter of weeks, she followed her passion for quilting to the monthly meeting of the Webster Quilt Guild, where she met you. Each month she would call me after returning from your meetings to tell me about having connected with each of you and how wonderful and welcome you made her feel in this new state, new town, and new organization. You took her out to lunch, went exploring at fabric boutiques, adventured to plant sales and garden stores, and attended numerous quilt shows. You were on call for machine maintenance, technique advice, and quality control appraisals.
In less than a year, monthly meetings no longer sufficed. There were too many projects, consultation sessions, stories to tell, and delicious treats to serve to limit them to a couple of hours on the last Friday of the month. And so, the Monday Menders were born. Ever evolving, you have opened your homes, ears, minds, and arms to each other for a decade now. It has become a holy time for Mom, one where she will not schedule appointments, not work in the yard or clean the house,not even chauffeur her beloved family around. It is her time with her tribe, the likes of which I’ve never seen anyone develop so genuine a relationship in so short a time as she has with each of you. The kind of friendship you share usually takes a lifetime to solidify. What you have is sacred.
I was concerned when Mom and Dad decided to relocate here after their retirements. They knew no one and weren’t exactly social butterflies. What would they do? How would Mom stay occupied with Dad living in Maryland half of the time? She had become so nervous and insecure and codependent. How could I keep her entertained when I was so busy raising the kids and working in our community? What would she find to do? How could she make new friends?How foolish those thoughts now seem to me!
Rotating homes, you keep it simple and fun. There are always goodies and needles, thread and fabric littering the table, but the real work you do is creating trust and crafting an authentic and unbreakable support network. Oh sure, you talk shop- how thick the batting, which material for the border, this stitch or that one? But what you are really mending our your hearts and lives.
Plain and simple, each of you has lived through a multitude of challenges and loss. Cancer, death, divorce, joint replacement, kitchen remodeling, even suicide. It is no coincidence that the day my father-in-law decided to take his life, at the very moment in fact, Phyllis was with you. He knew the strength of your bond and the power of your friendship to sustain her through the chaos of emotion and to heal her broken heart. It wasn’t just the meals, impromptu visits, prayer chains, cards and books that allowed her to accept and release; it was the way she could tell you about her anger, regret, and despair without apprehension or discrimination. You just held her hands, hugged her close, and wiped away her tears.
Without hesitation or judgement, you have loved Mom. You are her sisters and now I have all of your numbers so I can track her down when I get worried. But she’s always more than alright; she’s happy and feels valuable in her community, and strong and capable. So keep on calling for field trips or prayer requests or to have her come rescue you from getting stuck in the bathtub at 8AM on a Thursday morning. Keep loving and sharing and stitching and quilting; what you are creating is more beautiful than the most exquisite quilt you’ve ever seen. And know, please, that I am deeply grateful to each of you.