Thursday, February 9, 2012

A love letter to my security blanket.

When I was a little girl my sister (53 weeks my junior) and I shared a bedroom. My sister was born with a rare congenital heart defect that required intensive medical care that left her feeling sick.  She was frequently up many times at night and to make a difficult time a little easier my parents left our thick oak door ajar and the light of the nearby bathroom turned on.  That was when I started wrapping a blanket around my  head.

My blanket has been around as long as I can remember. My mother thinks it was a baby shower gift, but even she can't recall at this point. In the farthest reaches of my memory, when I slept I had my blanket by my side - or more accurately, wrapped around my eyes.   My sister is fine now, the heart condition controlled by stents, with only a few small scars to remind her of those long, sleepless nights.  My only remaining side effect is the inability to sleep with uncovered eyes.  That light from the bathroom made it impossible for me to sleep, and according to my mother I resorted to using my blanket to cover my eyes.

The blanket also served in a more traditional security blanket way.  The heart condition required my sister to have many long stays at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  We lived in a suburb of Philadelphia about an hour away.  My grandparents lived just outside of the city.  From the time she was born until my grandmom passed away I would live with my grandparents whenever my sister had a hospital stay. I brought the blanket with me every time, parting with it only for a few hours while my grandmom would mend the ripped binding or snip the loose threads.  My blanket was my connection to home.  And after my grandmom died each stitch she lovingly sewed into the frayed fabric was a gentle reminder of how much she had loved me.

As a teenager I tried pitch black rooms and sleep masks.  Neither could match the way the fabric of my blanket fit all the countors of my face, blocking any light from disrupting my sleep.  The blanket came to college with me where my first roomate was sure I was going to suffocate and would move it off my face.  The blanket was in the hotel room on my wedding night, and came to the hospital for the birth of each of my children.
Me, Super-Dad and the blanket (on my head) on New Year's morning 2000.

My husband sees the blanket as a holding on, a way to prevent myself from having to really grow up.  I see it as a constant.  I could sleep without it if I had to (and I have had to many occasions), but to me it's a comfort at the end of each day.  Like a hug from my past every night.

Do you have a blanket of stuffed animal (or a habit) from your childhood that you can't give up?  Discuss it in the comments.

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