Thursday, November 3, 2011

Time For a Change

On Monday, Manti will leave Provo and arrive in Albuquerque. Most missionaries will get the opportunity to call their mothers and take 3 minutes to say they love her and listen to her cry. Last week, Manti got special permission to send me a short email on a NON-p-day to tell me not to expect that phone call from him. The reason is because he has demonstrated himself to be quite trustworthy and responsible and has been asked to serve as "Travel Leader" to all the missionaries going to New Mexico at the same time as him. Part of me is hugely proud that such qualities are recognized in my son for a second time since he arrived at the MTC. The selfish part of me misses that boy and cries inside because I wanted to hear his voice so badly...and there is a good likelihood I won't get to. My fingers are still crossed that those others will behave well enough for him to be able to take that moment on the phone also,...but experience from the past 8 weeks tells me not to expect it.
So this makes me feel that yearning for my son all the more. His transition is MY transition. As he grows through this mission, so am I. I've never prayed this much before...I've never felt the pains of sacrifice quite this strongly. Not even giving birth has been this intense for me---and I had a couple rough births!
When we put Manti on the airplane and drove away, I went to pieces. My heart felt ripped totally out of my chest and thrown to the ground. I cried so hard, ... and as we left Nashville without my son, I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to help me be stronger than this, to endure this time well. He did. In my mind, I began to envision a quilt. I could SEE it in my mind, although there was blur to it. I felt its purpose and symbolism very strongly, and in my heart I KNEW that this was a project for me to tackle that would help my heart find that strength I had asked for. My mother helped me tremendously with it, and thank goodness for that because she IS a seamstress and I'm just glad I can SPELL the word 'seamstress'! But I felt it needed to be of my doing and I did it. Mama figured the measurements, I picked out the fabric and started the plans. Mama and I both talked to my siblings and as a family, we put our heads together for one purpose and made this quilt happen in a matter of a few short days- not even a week! In the first 2 days, the whole quilt was together and just needed to be tied, hemmed, and signed by friends! During those 2 days, my sisters' and my brother's families compiled a page with a note to Manti or pictures or some way of telling him they wished him well and with their own hands, they gave him a memory of themselves. My children and husband did the same, Mama and Daddy did also. We took a square home and had Tommy's brother draw on one too. And then we assembled a blanket. I stitched and stitched on it....and it is so pretty. When it was done, Mama and Daddy tied the first ties in it, and then Daddy wrote a note on the bottom side. Mama wrote one next, and then I took that quilt around to other friends (most of which are considered "family" to us in some way) and had them write a short a note to him also. The quilt was finished in no time, and my hands felt empty..... and yet full.
(I think you can click on the pictures to see them larger)

Yesterday, I closed the box up that contains this quilt and sent it to New Mexico. It should be at the mission home on Saturday to wait for my boy to arrive. In the box, I explained the symbolism of the quilt to my son,....

The fabric on the front is the same as a bag that a close friend made for me. I carry my herbs in that bag, and he'll recognize it as a carrier of mom's medicines. This alone is healing to a mind, and it will be a strength to his I'm sure. The messages range from funny to spiritual, and are very indicative of the family he is from. He will feel close to each individual when he sees their very own hands involved in this. It is native in several ways, just as Manti is, and one of those ways is a flaw in it. Native belief is that no artwork should be "perfect" should resemble humans who are also imperfect. So there is a strip in it that is upside down. One of the messages tells him that we- his family -will hold him as he sleeps through the night, will take those worries and fears and stresses and keep them while he rests. I envision that as his mother, I am taking care of him through the night, just as I did 21 years ago.

Those of you involved in making this quilt- Thank you! You helped me find strength and comfort. Those of you helped with this quilt- Thank you! You sent love to my child.

Now as we jump from one experience into another, he has a new vision of who he is and where he came from, and because of those of us who love him, he will also have courage and support to bring a similar joy to numerous others.

It's a good change!


  1. Manti is blessed to have you for his mother.