LOST: GNOME QUILT. Very important to us.

Last night I suggested to my husband he take the kiddos fishing – a good daddy thing to do on a summer night so I could do the dishes in peace and take some time alone at the Grocery Store (a super big treat). On his way out, he grabs the fishing pole (Superman, complete with red fish already attach]]><![CDATA[ed as to practice casting and not hook your brother in the face) and a blanket for the almost-one-year-old babe. But it's not just any blanket. It's the super awesome quilt I made for big H when he was just about one year's old three years back. It's nothing fancy, and it certainly won't win any quilting awards, but it was made all from recycled stuff I found at thrift stores, and, tahdah!, all of the squares had a nice little gnome on the inside. I've always loved it, and it definitely holds a special place in our family. So, daddy grabs the quilt for the little A to sit on while big H is fishin' away. Into the car, and off they go, and HOLY CRAP, all of a sudden, I realize, that the blanket is still on the top of the vehicle, never having it made its way INTO the car for the adventure.

At first I'm mad. Right? I mean, pay attention, daddy! But then I think, nah, it will be fine. He'll feel it fly off the car, or magically, it will even still be there when he gets to the river. Not what I was thinking here – I should have just hopped into the other car and drove after them. Except, quite frankly, I didn't WANT to chase after all of the boys. I wanted my peace.

So it should be no surprise to you that the damn thing was gone – poof – when he got home. Dear Husband retraced all of his tire tracks on his bike, but to no avail. The gnome blanket was Gone. 

First – feelings of Anger. Must be dear Husband's fault. Carelessness! But it's not really his fault. He didn't Mean to do it. I can't be mad at him, he's sad, too. And it's not like I haven't ever left anything on top of the car and driven off (but we won't go there).

Then, second – feelings of Disgust at myself. Can't hold it together these days, so much going on, kids this, work that, blah blah blah, we're all falling apart at the seams and no online tracking manager can keep all of it and my unruly children and all of my shit together. Nothing. Can't do it. I make a terrible mother.

And then all I can think about is that damn quilt.

Well, not about the quilt, completely. It's about everything that was going on when I made that quilt. H was, sorry to say it, the baby from hell. He never slept, and when he was awake, all I did (and, really, everyone around me) was wish that the damn kid would go back to bed. Never happy, always on the verge of crying, whining, crabby crabby crabby. Maybe he's hungry, maybe he's tired, maybe he has some sort of sensory disorder. Maybe he's thirsty, maybe he needed a longer nap, maybe maybe maybe. But never anything Firm because it never ended. Sure, we had some happy times. I remember those, too, but really, in my mind H will always be the kid that sent me over the edge, That made me nuts. That made me wish I wasn't a mother, and that made me think that clearly I was NOT cut out to be this or any kids’ parent because real parents don't want to send their kid through the window.  Real mothers don't want to escape their baby. Real mothers want to share pictures of their cute baby with everyone that they know and exclaim all of the joys of motherhood despite the sleep deprivation.

But then came that quilt. When H finally got close to being one, the happy times started outweighing the hard, rough times. Or maybe I was just learning how to make it happen, how to be his mom. And, the light – the light was having time to myself (well, just a little). And I wanted to make H a quilt.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm no quilter. And this certainly isn't anything that's going to win a blue ribbon at the fair. But it's messy, it's crazy, it's funny, it's done in my own way, no book followed; just a tip or two taken to heart. It was a labor of love for that crazy little H. I guess in some way it was my way of showing him that we'd figure it out together. And if we had to do it his way, well, I guess I'd go too.

So, now, that quilt was gone.

All day, I thought about it. I thought about where I've been since then, and what I've learned. I noticed that we're going through a similar time now – a time where I feel like I can't make it work for this kid. But we wake up every day, struggle, and move forward. And we laugh. H will always just be – well, H. He's the kid that takes everything one step closer to the edge. But that also means he takes the funny things one step closer to falling off the couch in laughter. And he takes his hugs and his love for me one step closer to infinity. And he had to be that baby. And I had to be that mother.

Humanity was restored this evening when I got home from work. I had plastered the street in signs "LOST: GNOME QUILT. Very important to us. Ellen" and someone found it, and despite the cute gnomes, was willing to return it. H and A and I walked to their house in the rain (it was warm, after all) and H wanted to try out his new rain boots and broken Spiderman umbrella. We got to their house, and H grabbed the quilt and hugged it tight, and then immediately poked his head in their house, and said "hey, you got any toys in here?"

I laughed.

– EC


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