Those first two little teeth… those same little teeth that made their debut five years earlier mark a milestone in that little one’s life, when they begin to have a bit more space in that growing jaw and then become wiggly in delighted little fingers. With probably the same thrill and joy we felt upon first seeing them pop through, we pull them out. A surge of the bittersweet may wash over us as we observed this milestone. Those bittersweet moments only mothers know… the baby’s are growing… they’re learning to toddle across the floor, they fall and skin flawless knees, they ride on shoulders and then on bicycles, they work at their play with plastic money and baby keys that are in a moment replaced with exams and paychecks and car keys, they play dress up and then get dressed up, they colour in the lines and then write beautiful poetry, you hold them in your hand and then in your prayers—those sweet moments mothers treasure in their hearts for a lifetime.
I remember noticing the smile becoming broader and the teeth more spaced than ever before. I knew in my heart that the little boy face was transforming into the face of a young man—that the temporary little teeth of a toddler would be replaced with the permanent teeth of a man. Oh, these bittersweet moments… mama’s all over the globe know them all too well. Now, at the risk of sounding downhearted about these life-passages, I assure you it’s just another of the many melancholy moments a mama experiences. They’re those bittersweet moments… pieces in the quilt of motherhood.
This quilt—the quilt of motherhood—warms us, stifles us, wraps us and covers us as it defines the days gone by. Mothers fold blankets and cover their babies with quilts, and then they fold their hands and cover their children in prayer. They, at once, picture the sweet past memories and picture special futures of their babies. All the while, time is piecing and shaping their quilt.
Each square of the quilt might represent a child; some squares: neat and tidy, some symmetrical and straight, some have frayed edges, missing stitches and torn material, some with the softest cloth with extra batting, some have raveled seams and the tattered blocks look nothing like the original squares. The quilts of motherhood are pieced with tear-stained fabrics, the soft hues and bright colours, the dark sashing, blood-stained threads, soft cotton and rough cloth, the fabric of childhood memories, hopes and dreams.
Every mother’s quilt tells a story—lots of stories, really and every mother knows where the stitches are neat and even, and every mother knows right where the tears and frayed edges are. As the days pass, even the dark squares and worn pieces bring a sort of a melancholy yet sweet memory. The older the quilt, the dearer the comfort; the older the quilt, the more valuable the stitches that hold the pieces together. There’s much hope in both the older and newer quilts: the older with memories and the newer with hopes and dreams. Both are warming to a mother’s heart. Both cover a mother with a joy unspeakable. Both sweet— though one, bittersweet.
The quilt of motherhood is a precious possession… marvelous and challenging, sunny and stormy, glad and disappointing, easy and difficult—no matter, most would do all the days over again just to have this treasured possession. It’s at once unique and universal, and yet, no two are alike. No amount of money in the world could create the treasure that mothers possess in this: the quilt of motherhood and only the saving knowledge of Christ and the blessed assurance of His Holy Spirit and life eternal is worth more than this: the quilt of motherhood.