My son Ben has had “Blankie” since he was six months old. A friend of his dad’s made the blanket, a soft crochet thing in light baby blue. I was paranoid of SIDS, and given the fact that Ben was one of those kids who pretty much stayed in one place while he slept, I decided to give his new blanket a shot. Ben instantly took to Blankie. In a sense, Blankie became Ben’s best friend.
I wasn’t one of those moms who let their child traipse all over the neighborhood with a blanket. Blankie was for naptime, or bedtime only. Of course, that didn’t mean that Ben didn’t try every chance he got to allow Blankie the opportunity to come out of his room, and to be where Ben was. “Mommy, can Blankie watch a movie with me?” “Mommy, can Blankie go in the car with me?” “Mommy, can Blankie sit on the couch with me while I take a nap?”
Many times I did relent. I told myself, “He’s not like Linus from the Peanuts comics, carrying this dirty, disheveled thing with him everywhere he goes.” But in essence, Ben WAS like Linus. It was rough for him to be away from his most cherished possession.
Blankie went with Ben to every place he visited. Friends who would babysit for me knew they would have to babysit Blankie, too.
As Ben grew, Blankie got older. He started to get some holes here and there. This is the time when most parents come up with some clever way to do away with Blankie, put him in a box, send him off to early retirement. But Ben’s dad was able to contact his friend, and have ANOTHER Blankie made that was almost identical to the original.
I had been pushing for years that it was time to wean Ben from his oldest friend since babyhood.
Ben is now 6. He spends weekends with his dad, and his dad has been having Ben come for his visits without Blankie in tow. And Ben has been getting along fine without him. As of now, Ben only has Blankie to sleep with at night at my house. He doesn’t have him at school. He doesn’t have him while playing with friends, or watching movies. He doesn’t request that Blankie be with him every second of every day.
I washed Blankie today. He was sitting in the hamper, with Ben’s other odds and ends that needed tended to. He asked, “Can I have Blankie?” And I immediately remembered what his dad has been telling me.
“Ben doesn’t need it anymore.”
For some reason, this completely filled me with panic! This is it. The last link to my son’s babyhood. Once he lets Blankie go, what else does he have to hold on to? And really, what else will I have to hold onto, that will keep my son my baby? I never thought I would feel like this, when the end of Blankie was near. I thought for sure it would be a happy moment, because who wants to see a 6 year old walking around with a crochet thing attached to him? But the images I see are the ones I have posted here, that makes Blankie all the more endearing. Who has the issue of letting go, Ben, or me? I think the answer to that is pretty apparent.
I let Ben have Blankie tonight. I know soon we will both have to cut that umbilical cord for good.
But not tonight. Tonight, he’s my baby.