For the past 28 years of my life, which is to say my entire life, my most prized possession has been a small, heavily tattered, pink baby blanket. I’ve had and lost many things in my life: toys, friendships, computers, money, my child. But my blanket was always there to comfort me. Some people might think it’s a little bizarre, maybe even immature, for someone pushing 30 to still sleep with a blanket, but I never much cared for that kind of criticism. Instead, I always looked to Linus Van Pelt, the only other being (well, character) to proudly carry around his blanket. It’s not that I took mine everywhere that I went. I didn’t carry it around with me to school or work or the grocery store or anything. And actually, I’ve gone long periods of time without it. During my first “major” relationship with a live-in boyfriend, I left my blankie at home with my mother, who folded and stored it safely away underneath her own pillow for safe keeping. But some years later, I went back for it because it was always a part of me I missed.
My blankie has been my biggest confidant, my most trusted protector, for my entire life. My blanket used to have a pink, satin trim that my mother tells me I chewed to bits as a child until there was nothing left. She sewed up the ends so it wouldn’t completely unravel, and I carried it around me since. When I was small, it was my blanket that not only kept me warm, but it kept all the monsters at bay. Nothing could get through that blanket! It had magical powers, and it gave me power, too.
As I got older, that blanket go to know all of my secrets. It wiped my tears on a number of occasions-tears over lying friends, over ex-boyfriends, over my parents not letting me go out at night, over the death of my grandmother, the passing of my grandfather, the passing of time in general. It was also the first to recognize that I was growing up, that I would eventually invite people in to my bed, to share intimate moments with. My blanket, as weird as it may have been for former lovers (they never seemed to complain), was always present. Perhaps balled up in a corner, but always there. This blanket knew everything that went on in my life. It could tell so many stories, and yet, because it IS a blanket, remained silent. And when I traveled, this blanket always came with me. I took it with my on my first and subsequent trips to Nicaragua. It came with me to NYC, to Washington DC, to Philadelphia, to Georgia, to Chicago, to Ohio, to Orlando, to anywhere and everywhere that I happened to go. I made sure it was what stayed closest to me. Part of me even had plans to someday create a blanket with pieces of this blanket for a child of my own. But this won’t be happening.
This third visit it made to California, and second visit to Chicago, were the final stops of my dear little blanket. Life happens sometimes, and sometimes we lose the things that are dear to our hearts. Maybe if this were the first time I lost a beloved treasure, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. But it’s definitely not. I’ve lost so much, especially within the past year, that although the loss is felt, I know better than to mourn hopelessly but rather I try to recall all the fond memories I attached to my blanket. To understand that all things in life, whether objects or people, are not permanent. We just have to enjoy what we can out of them, and smile when we think of them, and move forward.
…On a side note, I recently re-discovered Project Linus while I was writing this post. For those of you unfamiliar with the organization, they are a group of awesome individuals who make blankets for children who truly need them: children who are seriously ill, those who have undergone severe trauma and other kids who simply need a blanket-like mine-to protect them and to make them feel safe again. I don’t know the first thing about making a blanket. I have a few half-finished knitting projects but nothing that could be used as a blanket, but would really like to take part in this in some way. I hope to buy myself some supplies in the near future and take part in a crafting challenge to myself to create a blanket in memory of my own, imbuing it ith all the power I felt mine gave me, and to someday give it to a kid who might need it way more than I ever did. I think when it comes to loss, the important thing is not only to remember, but also to do positive things in the future in spite of and because of your loss. It’s something I’m working on more and more as the days go by. If you’re local and interested in joining in on this project, drop me a line and maybe we can meet up once in a while to encourage each other in our craftivism.