Bells & Books
I've always made my December visits to the shelter, extra special. Years ago, I would lug food and gifts, crafts and music. But I eventually learned, I could leave the "parties" to the volunteer groups, with budgets and lots of extra hands. I learned to keep it calm and simple around holidays.
This December, I returned to the shelter after many months. I was feeling pretty good, with chemo behind me and radiation almost done. But I still wanted to keep it easy. I arrived with a few books and bells and no plans.
I was grateful that my group was small and young enough that they were all equally giddy over pictures of snowmen and Santa Claus.
Reading to the Dolls
It was nice not playing a "teacher" role for a change. We just lounged on the quilt and looked though books. It felt homey and cozy. A few dragged dolls to the quilt, so we could read to them, too.
Again I was grateful for this young bunch. Some were too young to remember a past Christmas. That's always a concern at the shelter, for kids who are comparing to years before.
It was the illustrations in Frosty the Snowman, that got the group wild. Our calm group of book readers was suddenly energized. Before long the quilt was alive with little bodies throwing imaginary snowballs... diving and rolling, dodging and throwing. I pulled out the bells and a recording of Jingle Bells.
The kids who knew how to gallop, took off, "dashing through the snow" while the younger ones ran with bells. It was a little blizzard of chaos for a while. The kids couldn't get enough and I was exhausted!
What I Learned: It is possible to ease back into my quilt groups, without over-planning and over-thinking. But it's going to take a while to get my stamina back for the galloping!
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.