++Note: This reflection is by Liz Sorensen Wessel.
A year had passed, too much time since I had a chance to hold, love and be with them. Uncertain plans turned solid as I booked a flight for S. Dakota. Upon arrival, my son Lee’s welcoming smile and big bear hugs dissolved any doubt stirred by distance and little communication.
Lee drove 80 miles per hour cutting through darkness on the long straight highway (speed limit in SD) amid corn fields stretching far and wide we sighted only an occasional car. It was late into night when we reached home. I eagerly awaited a reunion with my grandchildren; Rejie (10), Cyrus (8) and Starling (4) but the house was all a hush and soon, I too drifted off into the land of dreamers.
In early morning, I had a surprise visit from Starling who climbed up into my bed and began chirping her sing song. Pleasantly aroused from my slumber, we exchanged whimsical notes.
Four years into life is a magical realm overflowing in wonder. An in between stage of innocence before the stifling pressure of conformity sets in. Being able to express oneself with real words instead of baby gibberish effervesces in optimism and a curiosity to explore a world fresh with limitless possibilities.
A friend encouraged me to ask my grandchildren questions and write down their responses. I conversed with Star, “I like your tee-shirt with that colorful bird. Is that a Starling?” “Yes”, she explained. “I have wings inside my body.” I thought, oh wow, what a great knowing that comes from within her.
I pointed to the books I had carried with me; treasured finds from my local library’s bargain sale. One in particular, “The Quiltmakers Gift” captured both our imagination and we visited her pages often during our time together. Starling declared, “I am a very good reader!” as she carefully studied each page, “Butterfly, I want to be a butterfly.” Look at the giraffe, I want to be a giraffe!” and so it went... The gorgeous illustrations in this book are for all ages to enjoy. The story has a spiritually significant message; worldly gifts will not bring you lasting joy and contentment. Give to others, share yourself. Love your life away…
Liz Sorensen Wessel
Illustration from "The Qulitmaker’s Gift" by Jeff Brumbeau and Illustrated by Gail De Marken