The Tale of Two Blankets

Today I found myself doing something I would have sworn I never would have done. After getting a text at 5:00a.m.from Andrew, expressing anxiety because he can’t sleep, I spent $35 to overnight his pillow to him at college. (Pillow=security blanket) He had forgotten it and I had meant to send it, but forgot. Well, that’s not entirely true.

Let me give you some background. Back when my first son, Michael, was born, we received a handmade blanket with his initials on it. Michael loved his blanket and slept with it every night. In a few short years, the blanket was faded, worn and ripped.

Michael was attached to it and I was afraid it was going to disintegrate on us. I also feared he was too attached and I wouldn’t be able to get it away from him before long so at the ripe old age of 5, I took it away from him. Our scene did not play out like the one in the movie, Mr. Mom, where Michael Keaton has a heartfelt interaction with Kenny about his Woobie.

I told Michael that I needed to fix his blanket, so he gave it to me willingly. Of all my less than fine mom moments, that was one in which I feel most guilty. I knew he wasn’t getting that blanket back. I honestly thought he would forget about it……but he didn’t. I did toy with the idea of repairing the tears and trying to make it work but then something happened.

My third child, Andy, was born and all bets were off. Andrew cried. All the time. Not from colic or anything that could be diagnosed. He just wanted to be with me and he cried when he wasn’t. Between taking Michael to kindergarten, keeping track of Kris (who was a rambunctious 2-1/2 year old) and soothing Andrew, I forgot about the blanket. Andrew was an extreme baby and he only wanted to be with me. When he was content (which was rarely), he was extremely happy. And when he was fussy (which was most of the time), he was incredibly miserable. By the time he was a year old, I had developed a constant nagging aching in my arms from carrying him but I had noticed something that seemed to soothe him.

blankie 1

Enter the Puffalump. Puffalumps were lightweight stuffed animals made with parachute material. They were manufactured in the late 80’s and were no longer available by 1995. We had one at our house and Grandma had one at hers. Neither was in great condition and it was only after we noticed Andy clutching one of them and nodding off to sleep that it occurred to me that a blanket made with that material might be exactly what we needed. I searched high and low, looking for the fabric that perfectly matched the Puffalump and when I found it, I made Andrew a blanket. (Had I known how important that blanket would be, even 18 years later, I would have made two and swapped them out so we would have a spare on hand.)

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that was never going to end. Andrew’s blanket went everywhere with us and as he got older- almost the age when Michael’s blanket took that fateful trip to my closet- Andy resorted to desperate measures. We told him it could not come along on public outings so at the age of 4 he began wearing a hat similar to the Cat in the Hat’s and he stored his blanket inside it. One thing was crystal clear. I could not take this blanket away from him. Not by logic or trickery.

Andrew did leave his blankie at home when he went to school but it had to be in the exact place he left it when he got home. And when he was around 11 and his blanket was grey with age and had been repaired numerous times,  I approached him with the idea of making it into a pillow. He gave it some deep thought and agreed that this was the best course of action. With a few quick zips through the sewing machine, his blanket became a pillow.

That pillow went on to travel the world with Andrew and when it came time to leave for college, unlike Woody in Toy Story, it made the cut and went to college.

blankie IMG_1498

When Andrew accidentally left his pillow behind last week when  he returned to college, I knew it would have to be shipped to him. I knew he slept with it and I knew he would want it.

I admit. I stalled a little. I thought that by waiting a few days, maybe he would find that he could live without it. But no. On Friday morning (5a.m.) I received this text- “I haven’t been able to sleep through the night since I got back. My alarm doesn’t go off for another hour. I’m scared to go to bed at night because I know I’m just not going to fall asleep or stay asleep.”

I knew what I had to do. And so I found myself sending a pillow by express mail….

blankie receipt

You would think this ends here. Andrew’s blanket/pillow reached its destination yesterday. All’s well that ends well.

Except for that one loose end. All of this to-do about Andrew’s blanket, brings back my guilt over tearing Michael away from his. Which brings me full circle. I have decided that it’s time for me to jump start my creative juices and see if I can salvage enough of Michael’s blanket to make keepsakes for his sons. And maybe ease some of that residual blanket guilt.