I bought the blue blanket nine years ago. I waddled into Mothercare like a bulbous penguin – hot, huffy and in a hurry to find comfort for the baby who had yet to draw his first breath.
I took the blanket home and washed it. I dried it, sniffed it and folded it up with gleeful anticipation. I dreamt of wrapping it around the soft little body that was kicking and wriggling and growing inside me, as I waited and waited and waited …
Eventually he came out and so did the blanket. At first it gave him warmth; later it gave much more. Security. Friendship. Somewhere to hide his face and cry. A plaything to wrestle with in his cot, he held the blanket up and gazed at the sunlight through the woven holes. He twisted it, hugged it and wrapped it around his feet. He learnt to walk so then he could drag it, swing it and take it outside.
Oops the blanket has torn, but never mind because now we have two! Oops torn again, but where did the other piece go? The baby got bigger and tougher, his blanket got smaller and tattered. No longer needed, all that’s left of it is a scrap – a tired, tiny tangle of blue polyester spaghetti. I had to use scissors to get it out of his bottom drawer, because some of the more wayward threads had wrapped themselves like ivy around the other ‘special stuff’ that he wants to keep: a carnival whistle, a sports day medal, a Mr. Funny bookmark, glass-less glasses and a cornucopia of other childhood knick knacks with cherished memories attached.
Now my small boy prefers football to snuggling, but the remnants of his blue baby blanket will never be thrown away. Sometimes, at bedtime, we look at it and laugh like fellow conspirators, remembering the olden milky days with a knowing chuckle. We feel ever so grown up.