I remember jumping on it with my red cape / bath towel wrapped around my neck when I was her age. We were never actually allowed to jump on Mom and Dad’s bed when we were kids, but come to think of it, they never really stopped us from doing so. I’m sure they would just peer in from the doorframe, not wanting to interrupt our afternoon of laughter as we soared to what felt like the ceiling.
I remember pulling it up over my head one day when I was in fourth grade. The stomach flu. I was miserable. But rubbing the soft, worn edges next to my cheek seemed to comfort me, seemed to soothe me. I would sleep on his side of the bed. That big valley that he had created in the mattress formed around me and I felt safe. I felt loved.
That last week there were so many visitors. He had something for everyone. “I can’t take it with me.” He knew that he had his treasures stored up in Heaven. So they came; some were coworkers, some were lifelong friends, some were family members. But my Dad had meticulously made a list in his head of his things that he wanted to give away. He always wanted others to enjoy the things that were his.
And he wanted her to have his quilt. He wanted his only granddaughter to cherish this heirloom that his grandmother had made him when he turned eighteen. She was only a year at the time, but he knew that it was something she would love. Something that she would remember him by. Something she would be able to wrap herself up in and feel the warmth of her Papa’s love.
In just a little over a week it will have been three years. Three years since I have touched his hand. Three years since I have heard his voice. Three years since I rested my head on his chest and just sat on the couch with him, not wanting to let go, knowing that it might be the last time he would ever hold me in his arms.
Three years and my baby has turned into a little girl. A beautiful little girl. And a little girl that is old enough to understand just what a wonderfully special gift her Papa gave her. These images mean so much to me and my precious little children know it. You can see it in their eyes and I could feel it in their love during our shoot tonight. When I’m grieving or missing him, they know how to comfort me with their hugs, kisses, and I-Love-You, Mommy-’s.
Just like being wrapped up in a cozy, handmade quilt.