Kelila came to my room for the uptheeth time that night, extra fussy. It was 11:30 pm. I walked her back to her room when I noticed what was on her bed. I looked over at Zaire’s long sleeping body and smiled. Before Zaire drifted off to sleep, he extended the best comfort he knew he could to his baby sister. I felt the warmth of pride from that. I held Kelila’s hand as she climbed back into bed.
“Do you know who made this?” I asked her.
She shook her head to each side rattling barretts against her pillow case.
“Grandma Mary ..” I lay next to her and pull Zaire’s quilt up over us.
“Grandma Mary is papa’s mom. She’s my g’ma . wanna hear a story about her ?”
Kelila shook her up and down as she cuddled more into me, pulling my arms around her body .
I told her stories about the Alchemy of Grandma Mary’s hands. How she carried in her muscle memory cultivating the ground to bring forth life from South Carolina into the backyard of a new northern city. She passed on gardening to her children and grandchildren like me. Grandma Mary raised all seven of her children with those hands and generations followed up after that.
. When the majority of us Grand children had children of our own , we gathered at Grandma Mary’s house for a special ceremony .Each family contributed food that we cooked for this gathering. We stuffed ourselves of dinner and dessert then gathered into the living room.We crowded into the room until our bodies overflowed onto the stairs and into the dinning room to see the Grand unveiling. Grandma Mary sat in her arm chair placed in front of the television facing everyone with cloth bags stacked beside her. She had been working on quilts for all her Great – Grandchildren and this was the day she gifted those creations to them. She called each Great Grand Child – from oldest to youngest by name up to come sit on her lap. She unfolded each quilt and placed it around their bodies then held it up for everyone to see. Each of us parent snapped photos to capture this special moment. For every child and grandchild that came after she made quilts and afghans for us . All of us in our homes still had our first quilts . We knew that regardless of our beliefs these blankets had powers. The cloth was held in her palms as she wove her love in with each stitch and thought of us personally.
“When you pull this quilt over you, you are covered by Grandma Mary’s protective energy . No harm can find you, nothing scary can come get you. Because what Grandma Mary’s hands makes grows and lives free, as long as it is under her protection, and within reach of her energy.” I told Kelila. I kissed her cheek good night as she relaxed and drifted off into a sound sleep.