It’s Only a Blanket
© 2013 Mit Maras
Nearly every child has one at some time in their young lives. For some, it’s a favorite toy. For others, it may be a favorite pacifier. It’s that one item the child, without it, cannot function. It goes on every trip to the grocery store. It’s an active participant in every night’s bedtime routine. It’s that one comfort that could never get left behind, or the universe might actually quit spinning. For my son, it was a favorite blue blanket.
When he was a baby still learning to crawl, he made his way over to a bag of blankets I was donating to charity. And, like most kids do when they see a nice and neat folded pile of clothes, he proceeded to knock down the stack of blankets and pulled out this blue one. It became an extension of him from that moment on. Only once, when he was attending a daycare, did we ever forget it somewhere. It only took the meltdown from that one time for us to learn the lesson and never ever forget that blanket again. We could forget anything else we owned. But, that blanket was second on the list, only to the child himself.
One road trip to see my husband, out of state, took a serious detour when the cries from the backseat forced me to pull into a local store for thread and a needle. You see, the tags finally fell out of the seams into his hand. The meltdown that followed is impossible to fathom if you haven’t experienced it yourself. There just aren’t words that can describe the scene adequately.
Then, one fateful night in December 2012, the unthinkable happened. The blanket was left at a local restaurant after dinner. It wasn’t until bedtime that we realized it was missing. My first call was to my Mom in complete disbelief and panic. The next call was immediately to the restaurant asking if it had been turned in to the lost and found. Had another family sat at our same table, the other mother would have certainly noticed the ragged state and immediately known the importance of the blanket and turned it in for safe keeping. The manager looked everywhere and came back with the devastating news that the blanket had not been found.
To help explain the seriousness of the importance of this blanket to you all, my Mom called back up there and offered a $100 reward for anyone who found the blanket. I was even tempted to go dumpster diving for that. LOL. The next day, however, we had to finally accept the reality that the blanket was forever gone.
Breaking the news to my son was very hard for me to do. After just a few tears, he quickly went to sleep with no notice of the absence. He took it much better than I would have ever thought possible. What I didn’t expect was how hard I would take the loss. No one took it harder than I did. The first thing I did after he fell asleep was stalk eBay until I found another exactly like it and immediately ordered it. Then, after bawling my eyes out until 2:30 in the morning, I finally drifted to sleep. Only to wake in the same depressed condition I had fallen asleep in.
I had plans for that blanket. There was a hole in one corner that still needed to be sewn back together. There had been quilting material carefully picked out for a day in the near future when he no longer needed it. It was going to be the centerpiece in the quilt to make and preserve for him until he one day had a child of his own. I literally mourned the blanket like it was a beloved family pet. I felt guilty over not fixing that hole sooner. I felt cheated out of the quilt and heritage I had planned for my child. And I had anger towards the heartless person who tossed something so precious into the garbage along with our left over scraps.
This went on for about two days when the good Lord stepped in. I had complained to God. I had begged God to let someone find it and call. There was plenty of bargaining, groveling, anger, and hurt cast in His direction over our loss. Yet, when He came to me, He came as the gentle-loving, protective Father that He is. He wasn’t angry that I was moping around over a blanket. He was understanding. He cared that it was important to me. He counts the hairs on my head, so of course He is concerned with the things that break my heart.
The gentleness that He spoke to my soul is still overwhelming for me. He knew exactly what to say, in one sentence, to snap me out of my selfish downward spiral. No one else could coax me out of my sadness. He simply reminded me this, “There are parents tonight in Newtown, Connecticut and all they have to hold tonight are the blankets. It’s only a blanket.”
You see, four days earlier, the gunman had entered Sandy Hook school in Newtown and killed all those children in their classrooms. Two days after that is when we lost the blanket. While I was crying and angry about missing out on the opportunity to pass a beloved item on to my son and future grandchild, those parents were mourning the loss of their children. I could picture mothers curled up in empty toddler beds, soaking blankets with their tears. And now, every night, all they would have to hold would be those blankets. I…still had my child to hold. The choice was easy. I couldn’t run down the hall fast enough to crawl in bed with my son and just hold him in my arms. I held him knowing some other mother was only getting to hold a blanket now.
Not once more did I mourn the missed opportunity with the blanket. Sure, I wish we still had it. But there was an immediate release of the anger and hurt. God reminded me, ever so gently, of the real importance. He knew I didn’t need a chewing out. He knew I wasn’t intending on being ungrateful to Him at all. He knew that He…and He alone…could speak to me in one sweet and heartfelt sentence and make me see. After all, “It’s only a blanket.”
© 2013 Mit Maras