Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Linus Blankie and the Life of a Fighter

I've made three other quilts in my life.

One for Aoife (owls and dark blue blocks), one for Kyra (penguins, I believe) and one for Riley (an applique Little Red Riding Hood that now has a suspect stain on it. Darn.)

This fourth quilt I made was so simple I should probably be ashamed. I ordered a layer cake (42 precut squares that are 10" each) and couldn't decide what to do. I also knew that one of my "birthday sisters" (I have TWO of them--girls who share the same birthday as I do. One is a sorority sister from my days at A&M and the other is Lauren Taylor, a sister in the jiu jitsu fraternity and all-around badass in women's MMA).

Anyhoo. LT turns 30 this month, whereas I will celebrate the 6th anniversary of turning 29. (Hush, ya'll.)

The quilt had two purposes. First, it was her birthday.

Everybody needs a handmade quilt or blanket given to them at least ONCE in their lives.


It's important to know that somebody in the world worries that you'll be warm enough to the extent that they poke the bejeezus out of their fingers with straight pins or crochet hooks or knitting needles. (My aunt Cheryl made a gorgeous white blanket for my mom many years ago that she loved to pieces. I remember. I just can't remember whether it was knit or crochet and where it is today. Hopefully she'll chime in and let me know.)

Now, Lauren is the type of person that doesn't really need reassurance of how much she is loved. People adore her and her new fan base is taking off as her MMA career is skyrocketing. And she's got an amazing partner who loves her to the moon and back, a mama who is crazy about her, an adorable son,  along with a couple best friends who would probably take a bullet for her (and I wouldn't be surprised if they have stories like that between them).

But still...

My MMA career was short-lived all those years ago and I only had to travel once (to Las Vegas). But what I remember the most (aside, you know, from the news they'd found a brain aneurysm in the obligatory MRI), was how lonely I was in the hotel room waiting for the fight to happen. Hours of nothing to do but wander around by yourself in a crowd of strangers or lay on an unfamiliar bed and watch god-awful daytime TV...missing your loved ones and worrying about the madness to come.

The second reason for the blanket is that the life of a fighter, when you get down to it, can be pretty painful and lonely.

Honestly. Fans love you. Your family and friends are proud of you. But the nature of the business is you are alone a lot and waiting more time than anyone can imagine.

Waiting for the gym to open. Waiting for medicals. Waiting for weigh ins. Waiting for the tape and wrap guy. Waiting for your fight to be up. Waiting for your flight to board. Waiting for the shuttle to come get you and take you to the hotel.

Waiting waiting waiting.

And Lauren? Well, despite her ginormous pythons and the fact that she makes people bleed for a living...she's pretty sensitive. She gets emotional under the Godzilla-sized stress she carries and she misses her mama and her Joe and her son and her friends and the pressure of the life of a fighter bears on her every now and again and, as her friend, I can see it in her eyes.

This is not an easy life for those who are fortunate enough to be successful. 

So when I thought about what I needed to do with that pile of fabric, I thought about LT and her fight next week and how her life is going to be full of traveling and fighting for the foreseeable future. And how she'll spend plenty of lonely hours waiting when Joe or Aurora or Patrick or Alex can't be there. And then the Boy Wonder and I had the idea to make her a Linus Blankie.

And, well, here it is. A noble, poorly bound quilt for LT to drag around hotels and planes and wherever else this journey is going to take her. Hopefully it will serve her well.

And hopefully, she won't need to suck her thumb like Linus. (Ha! I has jokes.)

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A side note. Lauren (6-0) fights next weekend on the Invicta FC 6 card. It's available online and on PPV television. You should watch. Really really.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Megan. I think no one has friends who love as much as Lauren's friends love her. As much as I miss her (I can't STAND IT!) and as much as I love her, I am here, she is there - wherever it is this day, week, month.... - and I miss her; it is reassuring to know she is not out there alone. Reassuring to know she is completely loved by friends that are actually family to her, especially given that so many of her blood family have turned their backs on her. I'm grateful to her friends for loving her wherever she is. The blanket is beautiful, by the way, but if it were ugly, it would still be beautiful.