By the time my mother was my age, she was a bit of a homebody. She would decline most out-of-state invitations, explaining that since she worked for herself, there was no money earned when she was away. While true, my mother liked being in her own space, doing her own thing, on her timetable. I think she just preferred being home.
She did, however, make most important life events, graduations and family weddings, some parent weekends. So on the rare occasions when she traveled for no particular reason, it was like an unbelievable gift.
My mother came up to see me one weekend after I had finished grad school. She took me shopping – something she hated doing solo, but enjoyed on the rare occasions we could go together. She ended up buying me a decadent down blanket, fluffy and cozy and warm, like sleeping in a cloud. It reminded me of my mother’s own bedroom. She was a sucker for Egyptian cotton and the highest thread counts.
When my mother was slowly losing herself, when after years of busy, she suddenly found herself with endless free time, she returned to a love of knitting. She spent hours in a local knitting store, casting on, clicking away. As she progressed, she could no longer follow entire patterns on her own. But if the kind store owner would break it down for her, piece by piece, for a long while, my mother could do as instructed.
When I was pregnant with my son, the store owner created a pattern for a lovely baby blanket. My mother was enthralled with it, praising its design, diligently working to provide her unborn first grandchild with a tangible symbol of her love.
She did not disappoint.
Three years later, with significantly more assistance, my mother knitted a similar blanket for my daughter.
Neither child has a recollection of ever visiting with my mother when she was functional. Still, during down times, they often sit on the couch, cocooned in the blankets made by Nana, enveloped in her love, even though they may not recognize it. They now see a confused older lady in a wheelchair, babbling nonsense, but her previously capable hands fashioned a creative and beautiful way to continue to embrace them.
A few weeks ago, I noticed small white feathers, first in the corner of my bedroom and then on my pajamas. Fancy comforters may last for a really long time, but eventually, of course, they wear out. Feathers fell out from tears in the blanket, sticking to my clothes and fluttering all over the floor. I ignored it as long as I could, but it was clear that it was time to put the blanket out of its misery.
But I just did not want to let it go. It is funny how sometimes an object can make you feel so many things. The blanket warmed me inside and out, reminding me of my mother and her love.
Fortunately, mothers are not the only ones offering comfort and love. My husband, always eager to solve identifiable problems, tasked himself with finding an alternative. After some research, he found a warm, inviting blanket with strong ratings, and, after getting my approval, made the purchase himself.
Find comfort. Accept comfort. Offer comfort. Let yourself be embraced in love. And special blankets.