Friday, September 30, 2022

A Quilt with a Special Message / Beauties Pageant 188

This quilt has been on my mind lately. It’s a project, named 47XY+21, that I created back in 2018 to share my parenting journey with the quilting community.

What you’re looking at is an abstract interpretation of my younger son’s karotype (that is, a picture of his chromosomes). My guy has an extra chromosome on the 21st pair, which causes Down syndrome. 

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, which makes it a perfect time to revisit this quilt and the meaning behind it. You can read about this project and my son in my original post from 2018. Spoiler alert: This kiddo is awesome and perfect just the way he is. I can’t imagine life without him or his bonus chromosome.

47XY+21 in the pages of Curated Quilts’ Well Said issue.

There are two points, however, that my original post doesn’t make that I’d like to share with you today ...

First, I cannot adequately explain how meaningful the process of creating and sharing this quilt was to me. I was surprised. I am very comfortable with the fact that I’m raising a child with special needs, and I’m happy to talk about him or my life parenting him to anyone who will listen. But to post 47XY+21 online and read people’s responses or to witness attendees of QuiltCon 2019 view it and react to it ... those experiences had a huge impact on me. 

All of this is to say that if you’re considering creating something that is as personal and revealing, go for it. It’s not easy to be that open and honest, but I suspect it will be well worth your time.

Second, the ugliness in this world is at times too much for me to bear. (Can you relate?) I remember not wanting to leave the safety of the maternity ward in the days after my son’s birth because I didn’t know how people would respond to him. Friends in the know warned me that my guy and I would encounter close-minded people in our travels, people who wouldn’t be able to handle his differences. Someone even thought I could lose friends over my son’s diagnosis. These were not pessimistic or unsupportive friends; they were just projecting their experiences onto me and my situation.

And my experience has been the exact opposite. The world has been nothing but gracious to me and my son. I can’t tell you how many random strangers have shown us profound kindness. I am quick to apologize for my son’s social transgressions (and there have been many!), and every person we encounter has met us with understanding and acceptance. 

So I hope this post has brought you a little joy today. I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Thanks for reading!

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  1. I love your quilt, and I'm sure your son is a joy. It's hard to keep the personal out of quilting as all our quilts are expressions of our selves in some way. Enjoy this month celebrating your little guy.

  2. What a wonderful quilt and it is even more special being inspired by your dear son. Thank you for sharing such a heart warming story.

  3. A lovely message quilt! Wish I could have seen it at QuiltCon. All the best to you and your son. xo

  4. I'm so glad that the experience of sharing so openly about such a personal topic has been so positive for you. And that you have had such good support and understanding from the community at large. <3

  5. This is such a special quilt. Thank you for sharing it but also for sharing your journey. Well done, I'm sure it's not easy.


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