my son clutching his blanket photo

The Lost Blanket

Once upon a time (in August), we went to Virginia Beach and LEFT MY SON’S BLANKET THERE.

We were halfway home when he asked for it. And within ten minutes, it was clear that the blanket was still working on its tan.

At home, we broke the news to E. I’m not sure that he comprehended what the news meant beyond WHAT HAVE YOU DONE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE AND PROTECT ME.

We countered in the EXTRA CHEERY PARENTING VOICE: You get to pick out a NEW blanket.

(I brought my teddy bear, Tubby, to college with me so I’m no going to push my anxious, poor-sleeping preschooler into going blanket-free.)

E’s favorite color is blue (which I’m sure somehow relates to his new “understanding” of boy and girl colors) so we went out and bought the same fancy-brand baby blanket in blue. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Until bedtime when he looked at this new fancy blanket with no love rubbed into the satin. He lifted it to his face and sniffed tentatively. His eyes filled with Where were the years of hugs, breast milk, pee, dirt and tears?

I tried rubbing the blanket on my husbands head, E’s armpits, my face. Because desperate times call for completely bizarre responses.

For weeks, he let his new blanket follow behind like a neighbor kid whose too young to know that he’s not wanted. But my son never reached for this imposter when he cried and he had to be reminded to sleep with it.

Sometimes, in the middle of our bedtime routine, he’d whisper: Where’s my purple blankie?

Me: Oh baby, it’s in Virginia Beach playing mini-golf and surfing.

E would nod but no one smiled.

My husband and I debated whether we should drive back to Virginia Beach one night. Four hours of driving for a blanket? After a few weeks of watching this, we decided YES and began planning.

Until my mom happened to need to go back to Virginia Beach that same week, tore blankie away from his new career as a crappy sunglasses dealer and brought him home.

my son clutching his blanket photo
He pretty much spent the evening like this.
My son with his blanket on his head photo
Except when he was like this.

And they lived happily ever after.

The End.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

23 thoughts to “The Lost Blanket”

  1. Oh the blankie! Both of mine have blankie’s which they call “Neh neh” And my oldest, who is 4, has loved her blankie until it fell apart. She was literally left with just a string. In my brilliance, after she attached to her yellow thermal blanket, I bought three more and would change them out. But they were gigantic, and her carting them around tripping over them became an issue. So, again, me in my wisdom as Mommy, cut them down. She accepted this, as the “Neh Nehs” still smelled right. But as she got older she only liked one. She refused the others. So me, seeing that it was slowly disintegrating into nothingness, took the rejected ones and made a gigantic quilt that included all her baby blankets and burp cloths. Anyway, last month, her string finally was lost for good. And she cried, heart wrenching from your gut, you just lost your child sobs. I have only heard these kinds of sounds from my best friend and my sister when each lost a child. Yes, it was that bad for her. Usually she misplaced the string at least 10 times a day, and there were tears that drove me insane. But this was different, this was heart wrenching to watch. It made me cry. The quilt wasn’t good enough, the two 4inch X 4 inch squares I made, for such an occasion was not enough. I had to sleep with her that night. I was not allowed to leave. But, eventually she accepted the squares as replacements…and I am sure we will have to go through the loss of blankie again. I get it. I would have driven back to Virginia Beach, or flown to California or gone to the moon to get it after hearing her cries. Glad he has it back…

    1. I think that he was in shock for most of the month. My daughter will probably have the gut-wrenching cries since she will not accept any substitute. Not even for a second.

      Give your daughter an extra hug from me — glad she was (eventually) willing to work with the other squares. Maybe they need to be micro-chipped.

  2. I once lost Bear for three weeks when I was four. It was a devastating loss. I couldn’t sleep. My parents, to their credit, tore the house apart looking for precious Bear. I was almost resigned to letting him go when my brother and I decided to build a couch fort. We pulled apart the cushions, and there was Bear!! A little squashed (he never quite recovered), but right there waiting for me!

  3. I am SO SO happy for E that she was able to get his blanket back!

    Blanket losses are totally worth a four hour drive, but it is nice that it wasn’t necessary this time.

  4. my youngest has a blanket bunny (blanket body, bunny head and arms) that she MUST HAVE AT ALL TIMES. I dread losing this thing. When we went to Disneyland I had to think fast and make sure bunny was conveniently hidden in the hotel room (like in my suitcase) so she wouldn’t want to bring him into the park.

    If we forgot it anywhere, I can tell you we would be turning around that second and getting it. I really regret not buying a duplicate 🙂

  5. I still have a corner of my blankie. Yes, only a quarter. You’re a mom, you can guess what happened the the various pieces through the ages. I also have Beary and Otty (and otter). They are all worn to a frazzle, but were adored. I learned to hang on tight from my sister.
    My sister lost her lovely duck, named Ping (ironic, if you know the story), during a walk in DC. There was a long and desperate search for Ping, but he chose to stay hidden and was never found. Not so for Uni (the unicorn) who was mailed back after being left behind on vacation.
    Oh, and aren’t our names original?

  6. You got it back! I was so prepared for a horrible ending! That’s amazing! Was it left at the hotel? They saved it?! Hooray! This has made my day. And of course you wouldn’t make him go blanket free! That would be cruel. I am fully prepared for Ducky to go on Riley’s honeymoon and whomever he marries needs to have a blankie.

  7. This made me turn kind of weepy in my office. The fact that you guys were willing to driving down there BUT THEN! blankie was found by grandma!

    As a mother to blankie and paci fiends, I understand this love. It’s nothing to sniff at.

  8. I still sleep with my childhood stuffed animals, Baby Orangutan and White Monkey… I actually got anxious reading this post. I’m SO glad Blankie was found!

  9. That was such a sweet story…thank goodness all is right with the world again. We have two identical blankies for H (that we rotate just so they look evenly worn) should God forbid, the unthinkable happen (though I have been known to peruse Ebay just to see if it’s worth buying more, because hey, you never know you may need a baker’s dozen of blankies). Though I have to admit when my parents (or maybe it was me) lost my favorite duckie blanket when I was 4 or 5 they said too bad, better suck it up. Parenting these days is a different game, especially for sweet sensitive boys (I’m totally biased of course).

  10. Frightened by stories like this, we spent a ridiculous sum of money buying a back up Lovie on Ebay for my daughter. Someone needs to cash in on us desperate parents…

    1. Get her to love on it in between her other lovie because the blanket we got was EXACTLY THE SAME except it was blue because E ASK FOR A BLUE ONE. But no go without the smell slight grossness of a five year old lovie.

    1. So we hoped that we had left it in the house we stayed at but no one was there to check. When my mom went up to VA Beach for the day, she checked at the house and it was still there! Yay!

  11. I teared up reading this post and some of the comments. My daughter has a Blankie, too. Once we realized that she was attached to it, I scrambled and bought 4 more on (pattern discontinued, of course!). We only have the original and one replacement in rotation. And let me tell you, my daughter still knows, even after a year, which one is “real.” So when she is very distraught, we better have Blankie, not blanket, with us. Amazing.

  12. My 4 year old son also has a fuzzy blanket for night time comfort (that looks remarkably like the one in your photos). And I would totally drive four hours to retrieve it.

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