How long does it take a mother's heart to heal?
Perhaps I was just as attached to it as she was, maybe more. Or maybe my attachment is to my baby girl more than to the red Scottie-dog printed piece of flannel she has hauled around for the last nine years.
The idea came up a week ago. To be completely honest, I don't even remember how. A trade: Blankie gets thrown in the fire in exchange for early ear piercing. (The rule in our house has always been that you can get your ears pierced when you're 10.) We didn't think she would go for it. She did. Eagerly. Excitedly. Immediately. She really wanted earrings. Completely undeterred by the thought of pain, she was ready to throw her beloved Blankie in the fire.
Suddenly - and unexpectedly - I was hesitant, apprehensive. The thought of actually throwing Blankie in the fire, of following through, filled me with panic, with fear, with anxiety. What if she couldn't sleep? Better wait until a three-day weekend to make sure she has time to adjust. What if she cried? What if...? What if....? What if...?
All week, she asked to do it right then. All week I replied, "We need to wait until Daddy gets back from his work trip." "We need to wait until the weekend." "Are you SURE you want to do this?" I think I didn't want it to happen. I was not - am not - ready to let go.
Friday night arrived, Daddy caught an earlier flight home. Not five minutes after he walked in the door she appeared with Blankie in her hands, hope and excitement filling her eyes. My heart sank. I struggled to maintain my composure when all I wanted to do was go hide in my room and cry. But I was not going to miss this.
"Go get the scissors." We cut a couple pieces to keep, to scrapbook. She cut her piece carefully and purposefully. Sister decided she wanted a piece too. My soul anguished as Sister hacked in, straight for the middle. I was sure that would be "it." She smiled the whole time. My turn - Sweet Man said my piece was too large, I had to cut it down so there could be no turning back. Grudgingly, I obliged, all the while thinking Is this really for the best? Does it REALLY matter? So what if she really does take Blankie to college?
This blanket, this ragged, patched up, ratty old piece of flannel that caused us grief and sleepless nights in its absence more than once; this inconvenience that was impossible to keep clean, this false sense of security that traveled the world with us would finally be gone. Never again would I chuckle, shrug and say, "We waited too long, she's gonna take that thing to college now!"
I used to dream of getting rid of that thing. Especially when we didn't have it and it was getting late and she refused to sleep without it. Now I was a complete softie, wondering what I ever thought the harm was. Except, did I mention she always had it in her mouth? In spite of washing it regularly, I'm convinced that's a big part of the reason she has had so many more colds than the rest of us.
How could I follow through? Just last weekend I found a "story" she wrote that had been tucked away in her drawer full of paper for who-knows-how-long?
Blinkets and Love (typed as she wrote it)
1. One day I made a cwilt of love and gave it to my children they loved it so I made them cwilts every day.
2. When my children grow up I had to stop making them baby cwilts and had to make them big girl blankets they loved them more so I made them big girl blankets every day.
3. When my children wher (were) prents (parents) I made they children cwilts they loved them so I made them blankets every day untell they were prents.
She obviously equates blankets and love. What if this breaks her heart?
What if it breaks mine?
Daddy stoked the fire, we followed through.
And while my heart grieved the end of an era, we celebrated the beginning of the next.