11 February 2011

Wrapped in a mama hug

I really want to just throw my hands up to the sky and scream in frustration. I've been away from this blog and missing in action as I've been dealing with a household of illnesses. Ever since moving to Bangkok, it seems that our family gets one big nasty bout of some weird illness each year. Two years ago, it was mercury poisoning. Last year, it was the H1N1 flu. And, this year we have been coping with a triple threat. A back-to-back-to-back virus starting as intense non-stop coughing, followed rapidly by a fairly ordinary head cold and then a not-so-swift kick of a flu.

My four-year-old is still suffering through the final phase of the flu and my newborn seems to be catching his first cold, but the rest of us seem to be well on the path to recovery. At one point, while drinking tea, downing vitamin C tablets and moaning out loud, I really wondered if we'd ever be healthy again. I know, dramatic. But when you feel as crummy as we have, for as long as we have, you start to lose touch with your normally undramatic self.

But, this year, one thing was different. For when the illness struck our house, my kids were armed with their new 'curl up in when you're sick and maybe feel a bit better' mama hug quilts.

For some time, a pile of too small, but much adored clothes had been stacking up in my kid's closets. They were the special items they didn't want to part with. "But, mama, this is what I wore when I had ice cream for the first time in Bangkok!" or "But, mama, this is what I was wearing when I did apple bobbing outside on the patio in that hot sun on Halloween that year!" The protests continued, the clothing stayed neatly stacked and I devised a plan.

Working late at night, all of the clothes got cut, stitched and sewn into two quilts. My sewing machine is still in deep storage in the States, so I've spent late nights on and off for the last year hand stitching one seam at a time. And, I finished them up in time to wrap them up as Christmas presents this recent holiday season. My kids oohed and ahhed and dubbed them the Mama Hug Quilts.

The quilts are far from perfect as I am a project sewer. You know the type-- someone who randomly says, "I bet I could make that!" and finds the fabric and jumps in without a pattern to create something somewhat like what they started out to create... strong emphasis on the somewhat. Their mama hug quilts sport uneven stitches, puckering here and there, wonky and oddly sized crazy squares, and no quilting in between the layers!* But, what they do sport are several years of memories for my two oldest children.

So, when the illness hit our house and my son looked at me with those miserably dark, puffy sick eyes and said, "I need to curl up in my Mama Hug Quilt," all of my many late nights spent getting frustrated with my lack of perfect stitches were instantly worth it.

*The only thing that really dampened my creative spirits on this project was my lack of ability in finding quilt batting. I searched high and low throughout Bangkok for the stuff. And, just as I was about to give up, sometime around last April, a friend called while shopping at CentralWorld and said she found a store that sells it (everyone knew I was looking for quilt batting!). I told myself that I'd go buy enough for both quilts as soon as the protests that were underway in the city calmed down a bit. If you're a reader of this blog, you know that things didn't calm down and CentralWorld (and my quilt batting source!) were set aflame. So, I gathered up my almost completed quilts and thought... so they become blankets instead.... and there ends the tragic story of my unquilted 'quilts'.


  1. I love the idea of the Mama Hug blankets! It sounds like you need them. My mom is doing a quilt with my younger daughter's gymnastic tee-shirts and sweatshirts to preserve her memories of that time. Hope you are all healthy soon.

  2. FINALLY! You are back with a new story! Hope you are healthy soon.


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