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.
And they lived happily ever after.