Family Heirloom

This past week, Angus went looking for an old Habs jersey he thought we had stored somewhere. We are remounting Life After Hockey by Kenneth Brown at Dancing Sky, and we had used the jersey in the original production. He found many things, but not the jersey. One of the things he did find was a blanket my mother had given me over 25 years ago.

This type of blanket is called a "manta". It is a traditional craft of Portugal. If you're interested, you will find below a link to a British website that will give you a bit of background. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a Portuguese link.

Anyhoo, I had been thinking about my mum's manta and was wondering where I had stashed it. I have this habit of putting things away for safe keeping and then completely forgetting where I've put them, essentially losing them. I thought about it because I have been having trouble sleeping. My nights are fitful; hot flashes, having to pee, staying awake worrying about everyone and everything... I have tried sleeping pills; which leave me feeling groggy all day, pot; which makes me nervous because of the illegality, meditation, deep breathing, changing my bedtime, everything under the sun, really, and nothing has worked.

For a while now, I have been seeing an ad for a gravity blanket. Apparently, if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia, having something heavy on you can be very soothing. There are a plethora of studies that show weight can also sooth people with ADHD or autism. I clicked on the ad, looked at the price, saw that it was a crowd sourcing ad, and lost hope. However, the idea of a weighted blanket stuck, and this is when I remembered the manta.

For over a decade, Angus and I have been sleeping covered by a down-filled duvet. It is very warm and cozy, but it is also very very light. My mother's manta, on the other hand, is very heavy, being made of woven cotton. So, essentially, it is the precursor to a gravity blanket. Once again, I find that my mother knows well before me what I need. Thank you Mama.

The day that Angus found it, I folded it in half (he did not want it on his side of the bed), basically doubling the weight, and placed it between the sheet and the duvet, on my side of the bed. This was 4 days ago. No lie, I have slept better than I have for the last 5 years.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I will feel the tangible weight of my mother's love around me. I will sleep soundly. I will dream of the long, sacred line of family ties.

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