I simply called Lisa for advice on a quilt.
In church the day before, I’d had a very tearful conversation with Stephanie– for four years she’d endured the poking and prodding and humiliation of infertility treatments. And during the waiting she’d suffered false wisdom– “Enjoy your freedom!” “Kids are overrated.” or the worst, the very worst– “Maybe God doesn’t want you to have children.” How could anyone suggest such a thing?
As we talked and wiped away tears, I gathered some friends around and we began to plan. First, we would pray for her. I believe in prayer. I believe we have prayed little babies right onto this planet. Next, we would find her a project. I told Stephanie of my incredible friend Kit– her seven years of infertility– and the way that she began knitting little baby clothes long before she became pregnant. “I knew I’d have a baby someday, whether through adoption or pregnancy,” Kit said, “I might as well create something beautiful while I wait.”
So I brainstormed with Stephanie– a knitting project, an intricate dollhouse, a crazy hard quilt?
“It needs to be a hard pattern,” I told Lisa, ” crazy hard. Not a weekend project, but something that will take a year to complete. A quilt that her grandchildren will admire.”
“I’ll find the pattern.” Lisa replied, “I’ll buy all the fabric and I’ll give her my phone number so I can help her through the tricky parts.”
As a novice quilter, I understood that her offer entailed a great deal of time and a great deal of money– all for a girl she had never met and had never heard her name. But the offer was completely in character for Lisa. She is one of the great and noble souls of this earth, she can’t abide another’s suffering, she reaches out to help in any way she can.
On Saturday when I was at Lisa’s house she gleefully handed me a stack of golden fabrics: a sunshine toile, polka dots, white swirls on a lemon background. Tucked between the fabrics was a pattern. This one. Gorgeous. Incredible. Crazy hard.
The note read simply: Something to fill the long days of waiting.
Lisa wanted no credit or acclaim (and she may be annoyed with me for sharing this story); she simply wanted to ease another’s pain.
And so, on Sunday, after Stephanie had led the music, I motioned her down, placed the glorious gift in her hands and watched her eyes fill with tears as she said, “I wasn’t going to come today. Mother’s Day is just so hard. So hard.”
This is the essence of mothers–hearts and hands that reach out across miles and barriers to wipe tears, heal wounds and celebrate all that is good. This is motherhood.