When I was little, my mom was in a quilting club. The women in the club took turns setting up quilts at their houses. Every Tuesday night, they’d stitch and gossip from 7 till 11, then they’d gather at the dining room table for dessert and coffee. I loved those few weeks every year when a huge quilt was set up in our basement. My brothers and I would have board game marathons underneath it when the ladies weren’t there.
But my favorite part of quilting club was dessert time. Although I went to bed at 8, the buzz of the quilters would always wake me at 11 when they brought the party upstairs. And what a party it was! Laughter, stories, teasing—for an 8-year-old girl curled up in her bed, it sounded like the most fun anyone could have. Plus, my mom and her friends really took pride in their desserts—all homemade, usually things they were “known for.” Bananas Foster, flames and all. Cream puffs, eggy and light, like eating a cloud. Fresh blueberry pie.
As an adult now, I think that the “normal” great thing a mom could do in this situation would be to save a piece of dessert for her daughter. But my mom went way beyond that. She’d actually set a place for me at the table—on the “good china,” no less!—then come to get me after she brought out the coffee. I was allowed to join the ladies, eat dessert and laugh along with them. It didn’t matter that it was a school night. What a gift for an 8-year-old!
Kids remember funny things. These days, as I watch my parents playing with their grandchildren, I wonder which experiences will “stick” in the kids’ memories. And when I think about it, I realize that my mom’s gesture to me on quilting nights wasn’t unusual for her. It was representative of how she always treats kids—with respect, an open ear and a bull’s-eye understanding of what’s meaningful to a child.
What kindnesses do you remember from your childhood? And what memories do you hope your kids will have when they’re older? We’d love to hear your stories and thoughts.