My daughter has Angelman Syndrome, which gives her admittance to that exclusive club known as the Developmental Learning Classroom. In our case, this is a mixed-age group of anywhere from twelve to fifteen kids, and in 2018 five of them were graduating while my daughter was still a sophomore.
Now, I’m a life-long fabric addict, especially–but certainly not exclusively–quilting fabric. I have enough of it stacked on shelves in my basement sewing room that my husband has been known to call it insulation. I also have a lot of Un-Finished Objects (UFOs). I’ve even joined a monthly class at a local quilt shop that rewards you for finishing your UFOs.
So, when I learned that there were five graduating kids–young, emerging adults who had worked incredibly hard to achieve milestones such as walking and feeding themselves, or learning to write their own names–I thought hey, I can make graduation quilts for these kids. They totally deserve it, and that’ll be five more finished projects!
Did I think about the fact that I already had UFOs I could finish and give to them? Well, yes, but these kids deserved their own custom quilts. None of my UFOs had Trailblazers, OSU Beavers, or Star Wars fabric.
Did I think about the fact that I’d have to start these projects from scratch, and I only had two months until graduation? There was no possible way to get them back from a long-arm quilting business in time (there’s always a back-list) so I’d even have to quilt them myself.
I won’t get into the angst- and urgency-filled saga of actually making those quilts, but they did get finished (yay!) even though they were a few days late (boo). I had to deliver them to a classroom empty of kids because school was over for the year by the time they were finished. The teacher assured me she would put them in the office and let the families know they were there.
I still don’t know if they were ever picked up, liked, abandoned, ignored…It’s been eight months and I’ve heard nothing. Crickets.
For a while I was quite desperate to know how they were received. I kept hoping the teacher would email me to forward a note from one of the families, saying E. really likes his farm animal quilt, or A. loves her hearts and flowers. But as time passed I re-learned the lesson that there’s a certain peace in not knowing what other people think of what you’ve created.
I did the work and I’m proud of the results. I enjoyed the process. I used my training, experience, and creativity to make these soft, pretty things, and then I put them out into the world to warm someone else. I enjoyed them and then I shared them. From earlier experience I can assume that at least some of what I made was well-received and is being used and enjoyed. I don’t have to have the details. Making them brought me joy. So did giving them away.
I’ve already asked the teacher for a list of this year’s graduates. There are three. Two girls who both like music, and a boy who likes blue and green.
What will I come up with this time? I’m excited to dive in and find out.