You may be wondering why I am writing you -- a 28-inch by 39-inch swath of tattered cloth -- a letter. After reading a bunch of articles about how important it is to let folks know just how much they mean to you, I wanted to let you know how I feel about you. Normally, I would have just posted a picture of us together with a “#grateful” caption. But, alas, Blankie, you don’t have a social media account ... Therefore, I am writing you this letter.
As I type, you are in bed with her, snuggled close, perhaps wrapped around her head as a dream turban or tucked under her arms as a slumbertime toga. Soon, I’ll hear the usual “Momma!” beckoning me to come and give the ritual wake-up hug to both of you. As happens each and every morning, I’ll supply your voice, that perpetually stuffed-up, nasally low rasp I made up years ago when she asked what you sound like (Mom Job #394: act as ventriloquist for all inanimate objects).
As always, you are a wee bit curmudgeonly. You won’t want to wake up. You start to whine about sleeping more. She’ll giggle and try to convince you to get the day started. You will eventually give in to the idea of getting out of bed and, as she pads to the living room, you will trail along.
Of course you will. You are always there. When she had her tonsils removed, you journeyed with her into the operating room until the anesthesia took hold. If she clonks her head, falls off of the couch, or splits her lip, you are always the first responder. When she zones out while watching TV, her left hand roams over you, folding a corner, twisting an edge, constantly connected to you.
And then she’ll give you a little sniff. And she’ll sigh. And she’ll smile.
OK, I’m not sure why, but she really likes the way you smell. As you and I both know, I have tried to figure it out. I have been known to, on occasion, sniff you as well. Blankie, you smell good. You smell a little like her, mixed with what I can only imagine is the scent of security.
You do cause me to worry, though. I’m not worried about the sniffing thing, but rather the fact that you are irreplaceable. I used to want you to be different. I longed for you to be one of those blankies that I can find on some website, a popular, mass-produced lovey, so I could gather a few clones to serve as your understudies during this play titled “Life,” if the unimaginable would occur and you (gulp) went away.
But, that wasn’t the way it worked out, years ago, when she first chose you. We had a bunch of newer blankets and stuffed things, a plethora of comfort object options with the tags still on. You were unearthed from a pile of old blankets I had when I was a baby, sent up at some point by my mother for her new granddaughter.
You were, offhandedly, tossed into the mix. Without hesitation, she picked you. She had no idea that ones like you were no longer made. We don’t know where you came from or what company created you.
That’s why I’ve been so protective of you. As a survival strategy, I have made you into a bit of an agoraphobe. You don’t leave the house. You aren’t a travelling buddy to be taken along for jaunts to the park or as a companion on playdates. When we go on trips, I pack you in a special pouch in my purse. I check to make sure you are still there, more often than I search for my passport or my wallet. Yes, once, I may have worn you on my body in a fanny pack -- just to be sure you were safe.
You are an original.
You are one of a kind.
So is she.
Maybe that’s why you’re such a perfect match.
I am infinitely grateful for you, Blankie. You’ve weathered bouts of the stomach flu. The number of times you’ve been sneezed on is at least in the triple digits. You’ve had lice (more than once). I’m always shocked at how, upon examination, you aren’t made of a magical sponge-like material. You absorb her fears, sadness, secrets, anxieties, nerves, concerns, wishes, dreams, and so much more that I don’t even know about.
Let’s put it this way: if there were a fire, and I were just getting out of the shower, I would bypass my smartphone, leave my wallet, and not even grab underwear.
I would go straight for you first.
PS Let’s keep it between us that I sniff you every once and a while.
This originally appeared over at P&G Everyday.