Please just go to sleep.” I silently beg the small pink bundle cradled in my lap.
The old wooden rocking chair, creaking endlessly against the floorboards, seems to work against my best efforts to get my infant daughter, and myself, some much-needed rest.
Standing up, I try a new position. This time, swaddling my daughter in her fuzzy blanket and holding her close to my chest. Her squirms and gurgles do nothing to reassure me that this will be an easy night. Mockingly, the digital clock flips to 3 am.
An overflowing laundry basket stares menacingly from the corner of the room. I have tried it all—nursing, rocking, and even several different types of pacifiers, which were promptly spit right back in my general direction, thank you very much.
Exhaustion begins to overwhelm me as tears start to flow, this time from me, the mother, the supposedly competent adult. Big blue eyes stare up at me, as the clock slowly ticks forward.
Why can’t this be easier? All I want to do is sleep. Looking around the room for something to get my mind off this seemingly endless night, I spot the blue and pink patchwork quilt hanging on the nursery wall. My grandmother wanted me to have a baby quilt, and began her stitches before I was even pregnant.
At age 88, Grannie sensed that time was of the essence. I smile as I count seventeen hand-sewn calico hearts. These are blocks full of love, I think to myself.
Somehow I feel my grandmother’s presence as I look up at the quilt she made for my daughter. She rocked seven babies and never complained; a set of twins, when she only had clothes and supplies for one child.
I can do this. Just have patience, like Grannie. Looking up at the quilt, my memories take me back to childhood visits at my grandmother’s Western Pennsylvania farm.
A one-lane gravel road led to the two-hundred-year-old farmhouse, where Grannie always welcomed me with a big kiss and soft sugar cookie, complete with raisin eyes, nose, and smile. Inhaling, I can again smell the comforting scents of a farm summer—freshly baled hay, sweet, garden-fresh tomatoes, and mint leaves picked for a refreshing drink of tea. This was a good place—a homestead to our family for generations.
Closing my eyes, I can once again hear the familiar swish—swish of cows’ tails shooing away flies in the barn. Grannie, busy washing milkers for the dairy cows each morning, takes time out to open the milk tank, showing me the swirling gallons ready to be sent to the local dairy. She involves me in all of the farm chores, from hoeing weeds to picking garden vegetables for supper.
“I am not a very fast bean-picker,” I comment, noticing my nearly empty basket.“Every bean you pick is one I don’t have to”, she smiles. “You are Grandma’s good helper.”
Stepping into the farmhouse, I can smell the yeast rising on a miniature loaf of bread Grannie has made just for me.
“Just pinch off the dough between your fingers”, she instructs, helping me make homemade rolls and egg noodles. When I mistakenly turn the oven to broil instead of bake, I am told that, “Elderberry pie always tastes better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it anyway.”
Reaching up to touch the many careful stitches on my baby’s quilt, I remember afternoons spent sewing with Grannie as an 8-year-old girl, learning how to sew patchwork squares into blankets for my dolls. Colorful fabrics and pattern books cover the wooden dining room table, evidence of Grammie’s other projects put on hold.
Our time spent together is precious—time to thread a needle, talk, and feel the love between generations.
Standing now, as a young mother, looking at the quilt above her baby’s crib, I am ashamed of my selfish thoughts. Why in the world am I crying? Sure, this is a rough night, but I have a perfectly healthy baby, and all the time in the world to love and comfort her.
This night won’t last forever, so I’d better take it all in—baby powder smells, cuddly closeness, and ten tiny fingers wrapped around mine.
Feeling the supportive spirit of my grandmother, I bend down to kiss my baby’s soft cheek. A quilt covered in hearts reminds me of all that is really important in life.
Sh-h-h, my child—a grandmother’s legacy of love will see us through this long night.
2011-03-17 10:05 编辑：kuaileyingyu