“You were a baby, and I wrapped you in a yellow and white quilt,” Mum says, sitting there on the couch in her pink sweater, her cheeks rosy, the Olympics on the television.
Grandma’s sister made it, and it was folded in a box when we flew to Nigeria, Africa, those two years of Dad being a missionary with the blind, of me, staring across the fence at my neighbors whose smiles cracked open like white egg shells. I stopped talking when I moved to Africa, and didn’t start again until returning home to the quilt two years later with a brother in tow–a brother born six weeks early in the Congo, all pink and new.
I was four when we returned to Ontario, Canada, with its white snow draped like Mum’s sheets in the African sun and I tucked that quilt around my shoulders and began to speak. Those words, they found their way to the door of my mouth, turned the knob, and tumbled out all hasty and piled up.
And I still find my words beneath a blanket in the living room with my laptop.
Because they’re cocoons, these quilts, and butterflies are born deep within, finding their wings all furled and fresh.
And everything I love wraps tight in those folds: my Mum—when she had brain cancer, all tucked in the patches of a quilt; my sons—the babies that didn’t miscarry, the ones I wasn’t supposed to be able to have, because of my anorexia, carried in the woven strands—and my husband, the place he holds me every night as darkness falls.
I’m not unlike Clara, the heroine of A Promise in Pieces, the reverend’s daughter and nurse who traveled across the waters to serve in a war her father didn’t believe in. Who came back, unmarried and lonely, promising to deliver a soldier’s letter to his wife and in turn, she received a quilt—one that would hold the babies she didn’t believe she would ever have, the husband she never thought would propose, the friend whose grace she never thought to find.
“Mum, when I have a daughter, can I use that yellow and white quilt to wrap her in?” We’re watching couples’ figure skating, together, and she turns.
“Yes, of course,” and she smiles. “That’s why I’ve been waiting to give it to you. I’ve been waiting for her.”
I am excited to give away my debut novel, #PromiseInPieces, today! Just leave a note telling me why you’d like to win it, and we’ll choose a winner by the end of the week. If you can’t wait that long, you can order it HERE.
Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of four books including A Promise in Pieces, releasing April 15 with Abingdon Press, and Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books), releasing July 1. She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.