Write about your favorite blanket – or about your least favorite blanket. What does it look like? Is it soft, scratchy, warm, new or old? Is it a gift, a find, a purchase? What do you use it for? If your blanket had a voice, what story would it tell?
My mom brought this blanket from my childhood when my parents first visited us in this state three years ago. It was a long time since we had seen each other. We always stayed connected via emails and phone, and later Skype, but for seven years we did not have opportunities either to visit Russia or to bring my parents here. First, we spent all our little savings to relocate to another corner of the country – it was not because of a job offer or anything like it, but our desire to find a place that would feel like home. Seattle, even though on the surface it was unexpected (I was thinking California), did it for us. Our first few years here were tough – we did not know anybody, the small business that we had did not do very well in the new location, and there were no available permanent jobs. By the time when, after a few years, we finally got on our feet financially, the idea of building a community put roots in my heart, and we both started working very hard on it, and of course, had to finance it too. It took a few years before we decided to invite my folks to stay with us for half a year, as I did seven years before that. My dad had a chance to save some money and pay for their tickets here, which helped a lot, of course – we at that point still were involved in the school we founded, paying a huge part of the monthly rent from our family budget, taking the full responsibility even during those three months when Justin was between jobs and we had to live off a very modest income. When I look back on those crazy years, constantly giving, giving in all senses of the word, I still am astonished how we even were able to pull it all together, how we were able to be not just founders, but exclusive providers for the whole community – something that governments often refuse to invest in, and even the communities themselves refuse to invest in. How was this little family, that had not been in a strong financial position, able to pull it all together and become patrons of a newly born school and community? And how, in those harsh years, were we able to turn back to our family in Russia and take care of this most precious connection to the people who made me who I am, and made possible whatever I do and have in life till this day – my beautiful, rare, exceptional parents.