After many months (23 to be precise), the quilt is finally complete.
Here's the story.......
In November 2011, I decided that my daughter (who had just started her senior year in high school) needed a quilt with the symbols of the 9 lanterns. She has now just begun her sophomore year in college and it is finally on her bed.
I have been thinking about why it has taken me so long to complete it. The total time spent cutting and stitching and quilting, if I strung it all together, would add up to 2 weeks or so of actual concentrated work. Why the prolonged procrastination? What was my deal?
I could give you all the specs. The size of the bocks, how I appliqued the symbols, the fabrics I used etc., etc. But, the more I think about it, the more I think that the real story of this quilt isn't so much about the quilt itself, but about why it took so long to finish it.
I have come to understand a couple things about myself as I get older (and wiser - I hope). Although I am sometimes resistant to change and would rather not say goodbye (It took me a couple days to read the majority of Harry Potter 7, but it took a couple weeks- at least - of avoiding the book before I could read through to the end), given enough time to get over it, I can let go, eventually.
Although I didn't see it until just recently, this quilt became the tangible embodiment of my (initially) unsurfaced anxiety about becoming an "empty nester".
A chapter was ending. I couldn't pretend my little girl was still little. I had to let her go off to the big city and let make her start down her own path. I told myself and others that I was okay with it. That this was part of life. The whole point of parenting is to eventually let your little bird fly from the nest. I really did feel excited and happy for her to be starting her own adventures. I really did accept the logic of stepping back and letting her make decisions about what she wanted her future to be.
I could do this - put on a fairly brave face so she would know it was okay for her to want to explore the world - because I would transfer my anxiety to this quilt. There was so much that I had to do, whether I wanted to or not. I had to move her up to school so far away, I had to try not to worry (but still worried) about her being alone in a big sometimes dangerous city, I had to trust that she could make all the smart choices I knew she capable of. I had to accept all the changes.
But, I could ignore the quilt. I could roll it up and set it aside. I could work on it or not - mostly not. There was nothing I HAD to do. I got to decide. And if I wanted to make a selfish decision of not working on it when I probably should have been, I could. And I did.
For everything I had to do, and every step I had to take in the last two years that was hard but necessary, this quilt was there when I needed something about my life to stand still. I could play the ostrich and stick my head in the sand with this quilt.
And it is finished now. So I suppose I am over it? Some of it. As I said...I eventually get around to letting go of my "hang ups". I am still just as worried about her. Still sometimes wish she was little again. But she has grown into such a beautiful, smart young lady now, and we are only on like chapter 2 or 3. It will take the next 50 years or more, but can't wait to read this book all the way through to the end.