Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee. . . .
— Jeremiah 1:5
There’s a new baby in the family, the first child of my nephew, Chris, and his wife Jana. Her name is Paisley. I held the tightly swaddled, nine-pound, pink burrito, and searched her face for family resemblances.
Aha! The wide-set eyes!
The wrinkled forehead wondering what’s wrong with the Husker offense this year!
Yup. She’s one of us. She’s already known and loved. And proof of that is the quilt made for her by the world’s youngest-looking great-grandmother, my mom.
The quilt is called ‘’Just Like Daddy.’’ It’s a love song in pastel fabrics and tiny stitches. Though it was given to the baby, it’s an expression of love for her father, and his father, and all those who came before them.
Maybe I’m getting old. But to be born into a family that hopes you’ll be as fun and active and quirky as the ones who’ve come before . . . that, to me, is the best kind of blessing.
Naturally, there’s a border around the quilt squares in a paisley pattern. The baby’s name is, after all, sparkling and spectacular. ‘’Paisley!?!’’ people exclaim. ‘’What’re you going to name the next one? Herringbone?’’
I’ve been through this. Our eldest is named Jordan; Dad teased that we should name our second daughter Argentina or maybe Latvia. (Tina or Lattie, for short, of course.)
But this quilt. It’s so sweet. It gives me tingles.
Each square has a little girl’s silhouette, ‘’Sunbonnet Sue.’’ In each square, she’s doing something different or has some kind of 3-D fabric prop.
“I am Daddy’s little girl,’’ the first square establishes, in pink hearts and mint-green flowers.
‘’I want to be just like my Daddy,’’ the next one states. She’s wearing sandals with a tattoo on her toe.
‘’I hope I’ll have an animal blankie.’’ There’s a little yellow fabric square under her arm, with a moose, an elephant, a lion and a koala — just like the ‘’significant other’’ of Paisley’s dad more than two decades ago.
‘’I’ll pray to the Lord,” the next square promises. The little girl is in a Sunday School dress with lace, and has a silver cross necklace.
‘’I’ll have lots of friends.’’ There’s a smiley sunshine face on that one, the truest statement of all about the new dad. He’s very social and he loves people.
But he has his standards. ‘’And I’ll hate Brussel sprouts, just like Daddy.’’ When he was little, Chris and his parents once had a long standoff over whether he would eat his. There are green, 3-D, fabric Brussel sprouts dropping out of the little girl’s hand behind her back in this square. That’s a clue to who won.
‘’I’ll bike and I’ll jog,’’ the next square claims. The girl has a Nike swoosh on her shoes, and our high-tech great-grandma downloaded a picture of a bicycle from the Internet to copy in appliqué.
‘’I’ll climb mountains.’’ The girl has on cleats and is holding a thin ribbon as a rappelling rope. Her dad has had some exciting adventures with mountaineering, most of which happened in actual mountains, and most of which we can talk about without getting shhhh’ed.
‘’I’ll swim like a fish,’’ she maintains, alongside cute fish symbolizing his lifelong sport.
‘’I want to study and work hard.’’ There’s a bookbag on her back acknowledging his graduate-school course load.
‘’I know I am loved,’’ she adds, with lace hearts on the hem of her dress.
The last one brought tears to my eyes:
‘’I love Mommy most of all . . . just like Daddy does.’’ That square has fabric daisies, the new mother’s favorite.
Oh, Paisley. Welcome, child. You are loved. You are blessed.
Be just like Daddy, precious girl. Be just like Mommy and Great-Grandma, too.
Love life. Love people. Try new things.
Most of all, be yourself.
You’ve been sewn into our family quilt to add to its warmth and color in your own special way.
Just like your Daddy.
Just like your Father in heaven means you to be. †
By Susan Darst Williams | www.RadiantBeams.org | Fatherhood | © 2020