Whether it was a rainy day or too cold to go outside or just kids playing around, there is a right of passage for every kid to go through. I am talking about making blanket forts inside their rooms or dragging all of the bedding stuff out to the living room furniture of course. Wild  imaginations in kids seem to be able to conjure up  the most exciting reasons to be hidden under a blanket that is draped from chair to chair, or whatever piece of furniture happens to be available at the time. Depending on the blanket used, it was able to keep monsters, pets, siblings, sometimes parents and even light itself from entering. Oh how strong an exterior the mighty yet humble blanket is. Taken from the simple origins of keeping us warm while we sleep at night and transformed into the iron clad, bullet proof shield made in the forges of our imagination to ward off all comers…intruders into our secret realm. We alone controlled who could lay siege to our kingdom. With the power to repel any who would come and attempt an entry into our domain it was indeed a weighty crown to wear as king for the keys to the kingdom of blanket fort. Not only that, but there was always only ever one ruler in a blanket fort. Even though we wanted to have complete say as to what was done and sometimes even said within the confines of our fabric walled kingdom, it was always desirable to have companions or siblings come join us for secret sharing, wild stories, or games of imagination or board.

Mom was a special force of nature that could override all claims to any throne of the blanket kingdom. If for whatever reason she felt that the fort was in the way, down it came! Whoah to anyone who would dare to stand up against the orders to dismantle the fort after the law had been laid down by mom. One would only have to bock at following the orders for a short period of time in order to discover how swiftly that hurricane would get up to maximum force. You would only ever dare to try and resist such a force once. It took a while for my older brother to get to the point of moving out of the house, leaving my younger brother and I to move into his room. The room was actually the attic of the house with a ceiling that peaked in the middle at about 6 and a half feet. That entire room/attic was like the most awesome of blanket forts without the blankets. Those walls could tell a thousand stories! Maybe someday I will have to share some of those stories.

My wife is busy making quilts for the youngest of our tribe. You can never be too old to use a blankee. She has been putting together these awesome hand made quilts for all our kids so they have a blanket to use as a wrap on cool evenings, or something to throw over their beds as a cover, or whatever they wanted. Now that our youngest, the twins, are getting to the point where they are going to be adulting soon, it is time for their special connection. She has tried to make them so that they reflect their personality and/or personal choices in the process. I watch her labor over these works of love and art and admire how she has involved each of our five kids in the process along the way in some way. I always imagine each of them building a fort out of their blankets someday. It doesn’t matter how old they are or how big the fort ends up being. It’s the imagining that makes it fun in any case. I have even ended up as the recipient of a quilt made by my wife’s own hand as the picture at the top of this post shows. It is an amazing piece of art that she stitched her love into and I really love the end product. It has earthy rustic tones and hunting themes in the pattern of the fabric and although I can see a piece of me in it, I can feel my wife’s love in it as I wrap it around myself. That’s why I call it my love wrap.

When I first came out to Kelowna from Three Hills, I knew I would be living on my own for a bit as Sharon and the boys stayed back in Alberta to finish the school year and try to finish up some other loose ends. I eventually found a place here in Ktown and there was no furniture or anything else to use until the stuff from Alberta started to be moved out. I didn’t have cable or phone for the first while, so there was less to do if I were to just sit around in the evening. I kept busy with other things, but sometimes I would just text on my phone while I was sitting on the floor, wrapped in my blanket for warmth and protection against the boogeymen that were living in the house I was in all by myself. My love wrap came to have a deeper purpose in September of last year. It is a surreal and in many ways scary thing to go to the doctor one day and be told that you are not going home…that they need to keep you in because things are more serious than what you had fist been led to believe. I remember being wheeled into the stroke ward at first so that they could do all the tests. It was when they wheeled me to the far end of the hospital, to the old section where the rehabilitation unit was that things got extremely real. Rehab units are a really interesting place. I suppose we call them interesting when they should realistically scare the shit out of us but we need to keep positive about it. As I’ve written previously about my experiences there, I won’t go into detail about the goings on. But I will say that the nights were long and restless and the days were cold and most of the interactions with the staff were pretty much on a strictly “business” level. The other folks were there to do their job and I was there for a job too.

Sharon couldn’t spend her entire day at the hospital, all day every day just being with me. Even if both of us would have wanted that to happen, it’s just not realistic for that to happen as recovery is long and tedious. One thing above all else I will recall about those days which helped me face all of the stuff of recovery and rehabilitation. That was when my love wrap was brought to the room and I was able to use it to cover myself while I was sleeping or resting or just waiting for the next activity to take place in my days filled with exercise and assessments and learning from the staff what I needed to do and more. I got lots of comments about the blanket from staff and others that would come through the room to do their part in the stuff of hospitals. Some didn’t take much notice; still others had it pointed out to them by yours truly.  My blanket became my fort! There are a lot of things you can do if you set your mind to them. Much more can be done if you are constantly reminded that you are wrapped in the love of someone who cares for you deeply. You can become almost bullet proof…impenetrable! For all the love I received from friends and other family members while I was in the rehab unit, none was more important to me than the love that was wrapped up in that blanket of mine. It was the fortress that kept me warm and safe in the times of darkness and struggle. I hope and pray that all of you are wrapped in a blanket of love throughout your days.