In Jenna's family, it was just called The Quilt. It was the first one made by their mother and some of the squares were crooked, many of the seams didn't meet and the fabric was odds and ends of material left over from the clothes she had made for the children. They all knew that it might not win any prizes but they loved it.
The quilt had comforted them when they were ill, cuddled them on cold nights, been superman's cape, a Scout's tent and a security blanket when life shook its fist. As each of the children grew up and left home, he or she had asked if they could take the quilt. Mother had always said 'no'. It belonged to the whole family and it wouldn't be fair to the other's if one were to claim it.
Jenna was the youngest. The quilt had been part of her life since the day she was born. By the time she was old enough to join the older children in their games, the quilt was showing signs of age. The stitches had started to break, many of the squares were all but gone but Jenna loved it as much as the others. She thought that as she was last one to leave home her mother might give her the quilt but, she too, was denied and given the same reason. "But Mom", she argued, "there is no one left at home to miss it." "Your Father and I are still here, Jenna" , her mother replied softly.
"I'm sorry, Mom. That was insensitive of me. Of course you are still here. I hope you and Daddy get to enjoy the quilt for many years together."
No more was said about the quilt and as each child got busy with their lives, it slowly was forgotten. Their parents grew older, children were born and grew. The family tried to get together as often as possible but it was getting harder. And then their father became ill. Hospital visits drew everyone into the family circle once again, first to worry and then to celebrate. However, even though he had recovered he was still going to need on going assistance. Their parents decided it was time for them to sell the family home and move into a senior's facility. "I would like everyone to gather for one last Thanksgiving at home this year" , their mother announced.
Everyone agreed and each family offered to bring something for the feast so no one had to do all the work.
The day was one that everyone would always remember. The weather was unexpectedly warm so the children were able to play outside. All the men were chased out doors as well so the women were able to move freely around the kitchen and dining room. Extra tables had been moved into the room for the children and high chairs for the babies were tucked into every available space.
After the meal, when everyone was sitting on the couch, chairs or floor, the mother asked for quiet. "Your Dad and I are so thankful to see you all here. We are a blessed family and have so many wonderful memories. Before everyone falls asleep on the floor, I have something to give to you. As you know, we have gone through a difficult time but it was made easier by all of you. I have long wondered how we were going to divide the little we have amongst all of you but I did come up with one solution. Does anyone remember the quilt?" There was laughter and responses of 'yes' and 'of course'. ""Don't tell me you still have it', Jenna asked? "Oh yes, sort of." She picked up a pile of packages from behind the couch and gave one to each of her children. As they removed the paper, she added. "There wasn't much left of that old quilt so I took it apart and made a new one for each of you from the good pieces. There wasn't enough fabric, of course, so I added some from one of your father's shirts, some of my aprons and other odds and ends that you might recognize."
There was a lot of exclamations as one found a piece of a football jersey, another a bit of a prom dress. The history of the quilt was explained to other family members and each of the grandchildren had a turn being wrapped in the warm of the new family blanket. "Now each of you have a quilt of your own. I hope that in the years to come they will be loved to pieces just as was the original. For that, of course, is the purpose of a quilt."