Thursday, February 27, 2014

Stitching in honor of sacrifice

This may not have been the best week to decide to do a blog post every day, since it is also the week I am stitching for my life to finish my square for the Quilts of Valor project.

Last month, Jenna from Call Her Happy posted a vlog all about hand embroidery. It started a wave of interest with other bloggers. In my typical "sure, I'd love to take on something else" style, I thought, "Hey, that looks fun! I'd like a cool gallon-size ziplock bag full of needles and thread to call my own. And why don't I know how to embroider? I should learn." Then Cari from Clan Donaldson took things a step further by introducing the embroidery-along Quilts of Valor project. In no time, a group of bloggers and otherwise crafty people had joined together to embroider squares for a quilt for this worthy organization. Cari's mom will put the quilt together, and we will send it off with gratitude for one veteran's service and sacrifices on our behalf.

When I think about how each veteran has a story- a home, a family, a background full of childhood memories, it isn't hard to imagine what he or she might have given up to serve in the defense of our country. I wish it was harder for me to imagine. My father, a pilot in the US Air Force, made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty 29 years ago this past Tuesday. It's hard to believe it has been that long. I can still remember the way his flight suit smelled and the creased black leather of his boots as he polished them.

This year, marking the anniversary of his death has been especially tough for me. I was five when he died, and my own son is five now. When I look at Sam and think what it would mean now for him to lose a parent, my sadness for five-year-old me hits me hard. My dad gave up the chance to see us grow up, to walk us down the aisle at our weddings, to meet his grandchildren this side of heaven.

The rest of us gave up him. 

Mostly, I wish he hadn't done it. I admire his courage, his ideals and his willingness to serve, but I'd still rather have him here.

My sister and I try every year to do something to observe the anniversary. Usually I plant something or start seeds for the garden. This week, my Tuesday was busy caring for my three little ones, and I decided to put off the official act of remembering until the weekend coming up. 

It didn't hit me until tonight that my last-minute embroidery sessions were a perfect act of memory already.

Being able to work on this square for Quilts of Valor this week feels especially appropriate. Even though I haven't embroidered before, I feel glad to be able to offer this small gesture on behalf of one of our country's heroes...and in memory of my one of my own heroes.

May God be with the men and women who put themselves in harm's way to serve in our country's military, and may God be especially close to their families. We know your sacrifices, and we don't take them for granted.