"Why do you want a quilt rack?" she asked.
"For Andrew," I replied casually (Andrew, the husband).
"For Andrew?" she questioned.
"Yes. He sleeps on the floor, you know, and so every morning I have to fold up all the blankets and put them back away. I wish we had a quilt rack to keep them all close to his floor bed," I explained.
"Aha," my mother noted this.
Then she stayed with us for the 3 weeks past my due date that marched ever so slowly onward making us question if perhaps the baby would not come. She then understood the blanket mess and joy that such a rack could produce. My birthday was seven days after my dear first born entered the world. She decided to gift me a little early, so as not to let it get lost in the wonderment of a new child. I was ecstatic, but we did not manage to assemble it until some time after the wee child arrived as we indeed were lost in the wonderment of a new child.
Eventually, we did assemble it. Lovingly popping all the little wooden nubs over the easy assembly screws holes to mask the hexagonal, Allen-wrench-asking, screw heads.
Night after night the blankets were removed for my husband's bed. Floors and couches were covered as a bed depending on the houses we lived in. Sometimes the blanket rack was in the bedroom and he slept at the foot of our (my?) bed. Sometimes the blanket rack sat at the edge of the couch and he slept guarding the front door on the couch (though, not really guarding, just sleeping, somehow more easily so long as he was not in a bed).
Morning after morning I would tidy the husband's makeshift bed, perfectly folding his grandmother's quilts (and a few from my own history), before the windows were opened and the neighbors might wonder why this man was always banished from the bed.
Sometimes, once the child had grown a bit (and acquired a brother), the blankets came off mid-day for fort making and the dear quilt rack became a ladder, or staircase, or tunnel into some mysterious cavern their mother (me!) made for two rowdy boys.
Occasionally, when the stress was quite low and the man quite tired, he would manage to stay in bed all night long. The quilt rack might miss him, but I would not miss my morning folding ritual, as there was always other laundry to tend.
The second child, crafty and stealth as he was, discovered he could remove the little wooden nubs. Some disappeared, some rolled around on the floor when I swept. I plugged them back in every night after I tucked in the little man. Then each morning, after I folded quilts and set them on the rack, he would come over and remove the nubs. Eventually I gave up. We collected the nubs and used them as miniature doll heads for little walnut ornaments. No more daily nub collecting.
Today, my lovely quilt rack has left me. It was rather unceremonious. I quickly removed the quilts and scooped it up and placed it on my front porch step on this cold, cold December afternoon. Danna was scheduled to pick it up. There had been a craigslist ad "Huge Moving Sale". Yes, we are hugely moving. Downsizing hardly captures it. However, with the purging of so many items, even ones with such long and silly histories, comes a huge sigh of relief. The relief has created a man who has slept in bed all night long for nearly two weeks and a happy, happy wife. We have no need for the couch-side quilt collection any longer, but instead just one simple blanket, to cuddle under, while the rest of the furniture disappears around us this week.
Good-bye dear quilt rack! So long! Adieu! May you display great textures and patterns for Danna's quilts. May you enjoy a quieter existence, but may you, perhaps, be used for fort-making again, just for nostalgia.