Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Daughter

Tomorrow, I get to pick my daughter up from the airport. She will be visiting me for the month of June. I am pretty excited to have her here for an entire month. Since she lives with her father in another state, I don't get to see her as often as I would like. I normally get to see her in the summertime, or at vacation time during the school year. So, not very often, and not for very long. So this is a real treat. Alannah is the oldest of my offspring. Her father is my ex-husband (we all have one of those, right?).

9 times out of 10, when I tell people that I am not the custodial parent of my daughter, I get weird looks. I get people asking me what I have done wrong as a mother to not have custody of her. I get people who ask me how I could just give her up, or those who say ''I love MY children too much to ever give them up.'' You see, you have to be a totally dysfunctional mother to not have custody of your children. You must have been in prison. You must have been a drug addict. You must have not loved your children enough. Maybe you abused them. The truth is much less dramatic. The truth is that my heart has ached every single day since the day that I had to watch her little waving hand from the back seat of a car bound for another state.

My ex-husband and I moved from our home state of North Dakota to Colorado; and when things fell apart with us, we separated there. He had planned on moving back home at that point; and I could not, for reasons that few people would understand. My family lives in North Dakota. His family lives in North Dakota. I felt that if Alannah was living with her father (who also loves her very, very much) There would be family there for her in addition to her father. Family that could take care of her in an emergency. You see, I would have been a completely selfish person if I fought for custody of her at that point, because I had no family living with me in Colorado. If something happened to me there, there would have been nobody to take care of her. The schools in Colorado are not nearly as well-grounded as the ones in North Dakota (which is kind of proven with the Columbine incident). The crime in Colorado is much higher. I could go on and on with my reasons for ''letting go''. What kind of parent would hoard their children from their exes in selfish disdain, without putting the child's best interest in place. I love her so much that I just couldn't do that to her.

I cried myself to sleep, I don't know how many times, missing her. She will never, never know how much of a loss I have had, or how much I think of her, or love her. I have told people that it is almost similar to giving ones child up for adoption. It is so painful. And yet, she is so much better for it. Here she is 15 years old now. In a few years, she will be off to college. She is a smart and beautiful young lady; and I am so very proud of how she has grown.

I am really looking forward to all of the times that we will have together in the future. I have missed so many of her 'firsts' but I refuse to let that crush me in our times ahead.

I found a beautiful quote that defines my sentiments: Enjoy the little things in life; for one day, you may look back and realize that they were the big things.

To me this means that if you simply take care of the times that you DO have, those will be the times that will mean the most. Those will be the ones that will really matter. I may not know what day it was that her molars broke through her gums, but I have many wonderful experiences to cherish. I keep them in my heart, along with her, since she never really left me after all.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Checking In

Well, since I haven't gotten too many things done recently, I decided to inundate you with a plethora of projects that I have been working on...diligently. As you can tell, I also have not had any time to read, so whenever I am in the sanctuary of the powder room (powdering), I read a little from the dictionary. I can usually get one word in before I see fingers sliding under the door and frantic banging and carrying-on happening on the other side. The interruptions are usually very important things like ''McKenna is playing with my Trios! She is destroying my castle!'' Get used to it kid; she destroyed my castle months ago.

So, I will start with the telling of the first project: I was very excited to do a recent gift swap where the participants got to make a little basket-type bag, then send it off to another participant. I was very lucky to get a wonderful, crafty gal in the Netherlands named Dorien, who has a wonderful blog called Just Do. Go check her out, and tell her ''that crazy Monica sent me''. Anyway, I started working on the bag that I was going to send out way before I even received my swap partner information. (btw, I am sure that quilting is one of the only places you will find ''swap partners'' being talked about without any dirty-minded intent). She loves bright colors, so I was even more motivated to continue on.

This is the front of the bag. I used ''stack and whack'' blocks that were in a scrap bag from one of my ''scrap angels''. I used jumbo ric-rac for the stems, and I adapted a vase pattern to my liking and added reverse applique elements to the front. The bright colored fabric on the bottom and handles is an old Robert Kaufman fabric that I have been hoarding for 'that special project'.

I added a pocket of bright fabric to the back, as well as the inside.

This was so much fun to do. I loved the bag so much, that I think that I may have to make a reasonable facsimile for myself sometime very soon.

I also have been working on McKenna's baptismal gown. I am really hoping to get this baby done sometime before she starts driving. This is what its looking like so far (not pressed, don't judge).

I know that it is very hard to see right now, because it is cream on cream applique, but it will come to life here in the next few days. I am currently adding flowers that have spiritual meaning such as the columbines that are shown above. Tonight I will be drafting some myrtles to add.

Next, I am doing a shop sample for the Quilt Across Texas shop hop in September. I want to get this top done in the next couple of days, so I will have to get busy. I am using a pattern by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. called 'George' for inspiration, but I am adapting the size of everything. Here is what it looks like so far:
The next thing I have going on is a quilt to use up some Moda Turnovers that I have. It is a pattern called ''Asterisk'' from Quiltmaker Magazine issue 133 (May/June 2010). I am not in a hurry to get this one done, it is just one that I am using as a ''leader, ender'' project. This is what 4 blocks look like:
Finally, I have a finished project to show! (even if it is the size of a notebook page). This was a leader-ender project that I just finished to be a mug rug, or wall hanging or whatever the person it is for decides to do with it. I am thinking that I might put it on Etsy so that I can figure out how that darn website works. It will be an experience. But then, I shouldn't be scared a bit. I do have children after all.