The New Year makes me nostalgic and emotional. Am I alone in this? I can’t be.
The holidays, with all of their regularity and fluidity, make you remember what you did last year, and then invariably something happens that makes you say, “Oh, wow. Fred couldn’t even read last year and look at him reading along in the prayer book this year!” or, “Miles understood the meaning of fasting as something other people did last year, but now he is looking down the barrel of his bar mitzvah in a few years and it’s more real to him.”
Those are the kinds of things I think about during the holidays.
Time, time, time. Time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.
I recently found out about a woman whose job it is to stop time. She’s a friend of a friend; we hadn’t been in touch since a few hangouts with this mutual friend of ours over the years. She started a business where she takes your baby’s old clothes and blankets and lovies and anything else related to your child and she transforms them into art. Quilts, to be specific.
At first I thought, “That’s silly. I love all the things folded up in the gigantic plastic bucket up above my bedroom closet in the crawl space where I can never see them or enjoy them.”
Then I listened to how absurd that sounded and I reached out to her. Three emails and a few months later, my work of art arrived. I welled up with tears when I opened it. It was time in a quilt.
My favorite nursing sweater that I wore until it had so many holes even my nursing toddler rolled his eyes at me. The blue satin fabric of a diaper bag that saw me through trips around the city and around the country and even around the world. The sari I wore to my henna ceremony before my wedding. The lovey neither one of my kids ever attached to really (my breasts were the ultimate lovey for two and then four and a half years!) but still loved to have tucked into my nursing bra. Booties brought by Uncle Sean from the year he lived in China. The dinosaur fabric that covered my favorite nursing pillow. The garment they both wore when they entered the covenant at their bris…
These are my memories, and now they are all together, in this quilt. It is a beautiful, functional, and also decorative work of art showing the time I put in to choose the right bag, the sweetest blankies, the most comfortable sweater to nurse in. They are not tucked away anymore in a bucket in a crawl space. They are now in my hands.
I feel better about the passing of time now that I have this, honestly. I don’t need to run from the mixed emotions I feel about being the mom of my amazing, fascinating 8 and 11-year-old. When I sometimes wish they were still tiny, I don’t tuck those emotions away and pretend they are safe there.
I have brought them out of their darkness and this artist has helped bring a new set of memories to the light. Now my boys and I can talk and remember together. And we can go into their future with me knowing that whenever I feel time slipping away, I have a beautiful reminder of the choices I made, the colors of our lives, and the potential for transformation that we are constantly in the process of creating.
Happy new memories this New Year. And maybe I’ve inspired you to find your plastic bucket and prepare to see your memories and time in a new way; one that can enlighten and lift you up and bring you bittersweet joy that being a mom inevitably brings.
Here’s my quilt.
For more information, check out Jenna’s website, Instagram, and Facebook.
Bracing Myself Against My Son’s Severe Mental Illness
Mayim Bialik: Why I Support This Mental Health Organization & You Should Too
Why This Rabbi Uses Martial Arts to Help Kids with Cancer