A Snow Theme Despite Warm Weather
I had planned on doing this theme in early December. My stuff was packed to go, but I ended up taking a long break from the quilt groups after my mother passed away unexpectedly. On January 20, I was ready to start back. I figured it was still winter, so I could get away with a snow theme ...even though it felt like a bright April morning when I left the house.
Currier and Ives
These old calendar prints got us in the mood. We ignored the summery weather and shared stories of snowmen, ice skates, mittens...and cozy cabins.
The seniors at the community center don't have many snow memories. Most grew up in Texas or came from countries where snow is rare. But they created a little snow of their own that morning... with paper snowflakes and chalk drawings. I wish I could bundle this group and take them on a sleigh ride to reward their enthusiasm!
Returning to Silverado
It's been 3 years since I started the quilt group at Silverado. It was a way to involve my mom in a different kind of group activity.
I always said I would continue the group even after my mom passed away. But I worried. Would I really be okay, returning to that quilt covered table, where I was used to seeing my mom beaming at my stories...even when she no longer understood them?
I worried, until the group gathered and I looked at the faces! Vivian's face lit up when she played with the letters S- N- O- W and discovered how many words she could spell.
Pearl laughed and teased our little friend, Andrea as they scooted the toy sleds around the table. Then Pearl sighed and reminded us how much she liked a good cup of coffee on a snowy day!
Betty's smile...and Eloise's smile!
Betty remembered the joys of snow as a child, but also the worries. She remembers watching the snow fall from her porch and worrying that it might rise up and over the railing.
Eloise got a hug from Andrea, who modeled some clothes for the snow. Eloise remembered all the clothing she wore in Illinois winters...and all the work getting those layers off, after coming back inside.
I left Silverado feeling good. It was sad not to have my mom at the table, but she wasn't forgotten. I was able to share stories about our snowy winters in Iowa and how my parents loaded the 4 kids on the long sled and took us for rides at night under the street light...and how we left our snow covered gear near the front door and headed to the kitchen for hot chocolate. I like to think Mom was listening to my stories...from somewhere.
By 3:30 in the afternoon, the warm air felt more like summer than spring. I was headed to see the kids at the Women's Shelter.
But when I arrived, I left the quilt and all the snow stuff in the car. I grabbed the bag with my puppet and invited the kids to play outside instead. These kids needed to run and jump and climb more than they needed to sit on a quilt and talk about a theme.
Chalk and a Snowman
What I learned:
These themes I do... are for me. They give me a way to organize activities and narrow down discussion. But I never really need them. I could have just given the kids some chalk to use, however they wanted. But there was a tiny part of me that felt satisfied by ending my day with a snowman on the sidewalk. The kids didn't need that silly themed closure, I did! Ha! I have to laugh at myself sometimes.
After an hour of absorbing the glorious weather with the kids, I grabbed the puppet's bag. When "Pickles" climbed from his bag he was holding a piece of chalk in his mouth. The kids followed him to the sidewalk and watched him draw 3 circles. "Snowman!!!" they shouted at once. I handed over some extra chalk and watched them add a carrot nose and buttons and a pipe. I stood back in that warm sunshine and just watched.
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.