Friday, December 28, 2012

Patina

I've had this quilt since the first year we moved into this house (circa 2001). I loved the brilliant red and white and thought it would make the perfect winter covering for the bed. I enjoyed it so much I left it on for part of the summer. When I went to remove it one day I detected a discernable fade had occurred. It made me sad. I folded it up and put it away in the bottom of the closet. That’s been 11 years ago. Much has changed. I have changed. I’m far less a perfectionist. I now prefer that most of the items I seek, purchase or house have a “used and worn” look, with the exception of my car, computer and phone. Having three children under this room has likely paved the way for this to happen; try as I might, not much stays in good condition. Our windows, on any given day, have circles where the nerf darts hit their mark. The floors are a mix of dust and paw prints. The ceiling has various smudges due to children bouncing on the bed or jumping off the counter to show me how tall they are. I still prefer order, organization and tidiness though those standards slip often. I’m happy when I can see the color of the counter and the kitchen desk is clear. Oh it’ll fill up again, but that is always the goal, to have the countertops cleared off. November and December went so fast this year. Instead of the usual abundance of Christmas d├ęcor, I only drug out the tree ornaments and ribbon. The stocking were hung only a few days before the 24th. I also put two velvet pillows, one read and one green on the bed. And for some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I drug out the red and white quilt. It made me smile to see it, to notice the wear and the fade. Instead of feeling sad, I felt nostalgic. The white had faded to a cream color and the reds were now various shades. My “bed jumper” exclaimed, “Wow! Mom! You got a new blanket” and commenced to jump and bounce. “Not new,” said I. “It’s been here awhile.” She’d never seen it. I’d forgotten about it completely. Unlike the tree and decorations that were tucked back into trunks the day after Christmas, the quilt gets to stay. It’ll stay on through February and then retire in March. I see myself in this quilt. I look back and see how far I’ve come. My memories are most likely faded as well, perhaps not as sharp as they were a few years back, only picking up bits and pieces. Sometimes I can’t even remember what I did last month, let alone 5 years ago. I have come to accept the flaws in my own life's quilt, the scars, the tears, the many imperfections. These aspects are what give my life the "patina". I’m more comfortable with who I am and where I’m headed. I have a better idea of what I’m about, though I don’t feel that I have even hit my stride yet. I'm certainly "softer" than I used to be, and like this quilt I have shiny spots and those that are faded. Spending time in the sun does that to us and yet that type of light is what I crave! So here's to the well-worn look, faded and authentic, honoring one's patina and learning to shine though. Finding appreciation in people, situations and items that are less than perfect but oh so loved. Thanks for the insight 2012, it will be put to good use!

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