I opened my front door to find a box full of goodies at my feet: a hot meal, gifts for each of my kiddos, and a box full of hand-me-down clothes. It had been just three days since my son made his appearance into the world, and my days had been blurred by an aching body and sleepless nights.

My friend stood at the end of the apartment hallway, mask and gloves on. We’d been self-isolating for weeks, but not even a pandemic would stop her from loving and supporting our growing family.

From one end of the hall to the other, we chatted for a while about babies and life. And then she pointed to one of the gift bags, “That one’s for the new baby.”

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I pulled the gifts out. The bag was full of thoughtful items, but one stood out in particular. A blue receiving blanket wrapped around a Bible.

“That blanket was from your mom. She gave it to my son when he was born.” My friend’s eyes well with tears, “I wanted Percy to have it as a gift from his Grannie.”

My eyes fill similarly, tears sneaking down cheeks still puffed from nine months of weight gain. Knowing my son will never meet his grandmother was one of the most difficult parts of this pregnancy. A little over a year since we said our goodbyes, the sterile hospital room and trays of pudding mark some of my last memories with this world’s greatest mom and grandma. She died several months before we found out this new little one was on his way.

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My heart aches to think he’ll never have memories with her. No photos of her splashing in the kiddie pool with him or building a snowman in the backyard. There was no baby shower gift handpicked with love, no set of jammies she saw in the store and just “couldn’t resist.”

And yet, here was one more gift from hera little blue blanket, the gift that keeps on giving.

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She’d picked it out with another baby in mind, never dreaming it would one day wrap around her own grandchild.

But in the absence of her arms, this blanket holds him tight.

Overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of my friend’s gesture, I hold back my tears and struggle to find adequate words to thank her. We may be socially distant, but this gift of love transcends space.

Holding the blanket in my hand, I feel the prayers my mom wove into its fabric. Prayers for a baby to grow strong in the Lord, healthy and nurtured and loved.

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This blanket is more than just a bit of blue cloth.

It’s one more surprise gift from my mom.

And one more surprise gift from the Heavenly Father, who knows this mama’s heart.

Liz Mannegren

Liz lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two littles. She is the mother of seven beautiful babies: carrying two in her arms but an extra five in her heart. You can read more of her writing at MommyMannegren.com or follow along on Instagram and Facebook.