Friday, June 27, 2008

meet the B

Let me introduce the blankie: blue, ragged, stinky. It is also: best friend of my middle child, the ever-energetic Max; affectionately known around town as “The B.” More than just a security or comfort cling-thing, it is a measure of love; keeper of memories, and gage for how quickly my Max has gone from babe in arms to armed (and dangerous, if you fear sling-shot guns that send plastic flies flying) three year-old.

Understand: we all love The B. It is like a fabric member of the family. Justin and I wash it, carry it, wrap our tired child in it every day. We never leave it home alone. Noah, the man of intellect at age nine, is careful to see The B makes it off subways, that it survives dogs and draggings and other abuses, and that it makes it to the dryer before bed (his own tattered blanket still lives at the foot of his bed). Even baby Elizabeth, in her own way, loves The B, mimicking her big brother's sleepy nuzzle into her own, far softer, cleaner, and still-silky edged pink blanket.

When I look at Max, dragging that blankie through the streets of our town (or the other 28 states it has ventured since coming into our clan), I can see a lifetime wrapped in the Little Giraffe soft stitches. From the moment the blankie arrived in our hospital room (his first blue item!) to the tear-filled night we lost it in God-forsaken Hell, er, Disney World, The B is a third appendage for our rough and tumble child. It has made him a real-life Linus. I love that.

This afternoon, Max passed out cold on the kitchen floor after a rousing three hour game of hide and seek, otherwise known as mommy-pretends-to-be-looking-for-Max-while-she-is-really-weeding-the-garden-until-Max-gets-bored-and-runs-behind-mama-scares-her-and-sets-off-a-round-the-house-three-times-chase-catch-and-repeat game. Anxious to get a load of laundry on the line while the baby was happy in the front pack and the eldest was with his friends, the amigos, exploding diet coke two-liters via mentos fresh mints (described, perhaps, in detail some other time), I stepped over Max twice before pausing to look down.

His hand, still shadowed with the plumpness of a toddler, was traced with dirt. It gripped The B tight, even in his deep sleep, thumb and forefinger holding fast to the silk border of the once-plush blankie. I watched him inhale and exhale with the ease of slumber and childhood. And then, I pulled up a chair, sat down, and just watched him sleep, curled with The B, lost in his dreams. It was like a prayer.

I had a moment today, when the mindfulness of parenthood struck my core. And as I sat there, breathing in rhythm with Max, I tucked the feeling into the flattened chenille of his blankie for safe keeping.
Welcome to the blankie chronicles, the stories that make up who we are.