Grandma works for hugs and kisses

Jewel box pattern quilt by Royce Prentice. Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

When I was kid, I was never without some wonderful new doll, outfit, quilt, scarf – you name it – that either my Mom, one of my Grandmas, or an aunt would make for me. Now I was always appreciative, and knew the items were given in love, but I have to confess that I put absolutely no thought into the fact that it cost my loved ones anything to make those treasures for me.

I didn’t realize that it might be any kind of a hardship for them to bless me in that way. I didn’t realize that Grandma’s hands were stiff and it actually hurt for her to make those tiny stitches. My hands didn’t hurt. I didn’t know that Mom was exhausted after meeting all of mine and my sisters needs all day long, and although she loved to do it, that making sure I had a sash, corsage, and flowers for my hair when I got Talent Show Queen had exhausted her or put her out in anyway. I was just excited.

I didn’t have a real concept of what things cost, which was a given, because I didn’t have any real money of my own. So, I didn’t realize that my Great Aunt was on a fixed income and had more nieces and nephews than just me to do for, and that it might have been a little bit of a struggle for her to come up with gifts for all of us at Christmas. I had everything I needed, it was always right there without ever asking.

It was because of my amazing loved ones that I always had what I needed, and then some. Even though it didn’t cost me anything and I just reaped all the rewards, it did cost them something.

I’ve overheard converstations before that went a little something like this.

“How much would you charge to make this?”

(Shows a picture of desired item and then gets a realistic quote.) Then responds:

“Well, that sounds high, my Grandma will do that for free”

Let me just clue you in on a little something. While our Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Great Aunts (you get the picture) do amazing things for us and ask for nothing in return, don’t kid yourself it costs them something. They had to pay the same prices as everyone else for the materials to make that item you fell in love with on Pinterest and just had to have, although they probably didn’t transfer that cost on to you.

Even if they made it out of things they already had, it most certainly cost them their time and time is precious. It’s way more precious than money.

I’ve seen ladies spend hours agonizing over just the right color to please their children or grandchildren. I’ve heard of them working into the night, although they were already exhausted, just to finish that quilt, scarf, blanket, dress, etc. just so their loved one would have it in time for whatever event they needed it for. Backs aching, hands throbbing, eyes bleary they soldier on, because they love us and the beautiful creations they so painstakingly make are just one small way of showing that.

Now I’m really not trying to scold. I’ve been there. I never understood, until I got a little older, just what a treasure the women in my family are. It was just a given that Grandma was a rockstar.

She never gets tired, she’ll do anything you ask, she never complains, she seems unstoppable. She always makes it look so easy, so why would we consider that she actually DOES get tired, or that it might be hard for her to do whatever it is we’re asking?

I’m also not saying, after reading this, to run sobbing to her house with a fistful of cash, head hung low in shame, for all the times you took her for granted. She doesn’t want that either.

All she wants is your love, and I’m sure she would enjoy a little appreciation. Because at the end of the day Grandma works for hugs and kisses, but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a tip now and then.

Every Quilter has a story and we’d like to hear yours! Send us your stories, tips, and ideas to

Comments are closed.