We decorate sugar cookies at Grandma's house at Christmas time.
We have a bubble-gum blowing contest at the Mulnix family reunion.
And, when we have our first baby, Nana makes us a family quilt.
To begin, Nana picks a book that has meaning for our family. She picks books that have a message we want to pass down to our children. For Trendy Mama's family, she picked Bear of My Heart by Joanne Ryder. Trendy Mama and her family love to camp and fish, so this story about a sweet little baby bear and her mom (or dad) who explore outside is perfect for them. And the message the parent bear tells its cub -- "You are the bear of my heart, dear, and I am the one who loves you..." what a sweet refrain for Trendy Mama's family. Trendy Mama's cubs truly are the bears of her heart and she and her hubby are the ones who love those cubs with all of the fibers of their beings. And, those cubs know it!
So Nana picked the perfect book.
After she has selected the book, she designs a quilt that represents the book. My words cannot do this quilt (or our family quilt which I'll write about later) justice. It is perfect - each fabric is selected with care, each stitch has meaning, and for the rest of our lives...and our children's lives...and their children's lives... this quilt will remind them that they are loved by many.
This family quilt is not just for that precious first baby. Instead, it represents the beginning of the family.
The best part about this quilt is how it evolves. When the babies are little, they can lay on it and play. Taylor could find the fish swimming in the stream. Now, Taylor and her sister, Kami, can point to the mama bear and the baby bear and trace the quilted heart in between them. Mama can read the story as her girls are on sitting on the blanket.
The quilt hangs in the girls' playroom as a constant reminder of their family story: That they are the bears of their parents' heart... they are the bears of their Nana and Pappy's hearts... that they are the bears of their family's hearts... and we are all the ones that love them!