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.


Becki said...

We have a blankie, too. It's yellow and green (or was, six years ago), purchased when I was pregnant and unwilling to learn the sex of my baby until she was born. For a while my daughter would gnaw on any piece of fabric to go to sleep. Then she narrowed it down to two blankets, then only this one. It's terribly tattered and deeply loved, and God help us if it ever gets lost.

Charlie said...

Welcome to the world of Blogging.

My cat has a blankie (actually a blue
sweatshirt that he 'took over' even
before I could wear it once. Now,
when/whereever it is put down, that
is where "Smokey" sleeps.


Zach said...

I started getting choked up when I read this. Those are some great kids.

list mama said...

You summed up parenting beautifully in this post. It is an exhausting and heart-wrenching endeavor. My middle child (also a boy) is attached to his blankie. We did lose his first one when we were moving from Oklahoma to Maine. I'll never forget the terrible realization that his blankie had been left in the last hotel. Thankfully, our next stop was at our very dear friends' home and she willingly donated a new (and even softer) blankie, which Clark immediately became attached to (maybe moreso).


Zip n Tizzy said...

Very sweet.
I had a very loved blankie.
I had thought it had been thrown away by my stepmother, and then one day when I was 13 or 14, my mom and I unfolded a sheet and it fell out onto the floor! We both let out a gasp as it had been missing for several years and neither one of us had any recollection of having put it there.

Bree Gerard said...

My dear friend Kate,
Love love the blankie chronicles. Carter has the B as well, blue and small always - nothing else ever works to take its place (believe me we have tried when one is dirty). His B is called "smoosh" ever since birth and we have aquired three of them to rotate. Thanks for sharing, love reading the posts - makes me feel better connected to my up north roots and friends. Hope to see you all soon.
With love,
Bree, Craig, Carter & Smoosh

Leslie Smith said...

Hi! You might want to invest in a little thing i developed called a Blankie Keeper. I developed it ofr my own daughter and four years later she still sleeps with it-shredded blankie tucked inside. Go to Who am I? A mom like you who stopped and snipped after two--I'm pretty restless. You can see my posts at . Enjoy being "mama!" You obviously LOVE it and are good at it. Cheers! Leslie Smith

Heather said...

Oh my goodness. This is so beautiful. We have a blankie that my 9 year old still loves immensely, sleeps with nightly, and which serves as an excellent signal that she is sick or feeling sad when it shows its tattered pink terry stripes in the living room and I had my own which is a tattered blankie once yellow and green now pretty much just grey.