Thursday, November 27, 2008

The most beautiful blanket

When I first found out I was pregnant with Gracie, I decided I wasn't going to tell anyone or buy anything until I hit my second trimester. At 32, I was no spring chicken to be having my first baby, and I just couldn't bear the thought of having to call my family and friends and face a room full of baby stuff if something bad should happen.

But it didn't stop me from perusing the baby sections of Wal-Mart and the Superstore every time I went shopping. I just couldn't help myself. I would wander down the aisles and look at all the cute clothes and gear, and wonder whether I needed to buy the blue stuff or the pink stuff, and all the usual things that pregnant women can't help but wonder about their unborn child.

And then one night, about a couple weeks until I reached the second trimester mark, I was daydreaming at Wal-Mart when I saw a blanket on the shelf. I'm not sure what it was about that blanket, but I was instantly drawn to it. It was a beautiful pale yellow, soft as soft can be, and had a little velvet Winnie-the-Pooh appliqued in the corner. There were prettier, fancier blankets on that same shelf; but something told me I needed to have another look at this particular blanket. I pulled it off the shelf to really feel it, and a Wal-Mart employee who was stocking the shelves nearby told me that if I liked it, I had better buy it now because the manufacturers weren't making it anymore.

I put it up to my face and rubbed it against my cheek. It was so soft and cozy. It was as if all my wanting and hoping and anticipation for this beautiful little person inside me was embodied in this blanket. I had to have it, second trimester pact be damned.

It was the very first thing I bought for Gracie.

Fast forward about 7 months. By then, we had our girl Gracie, and her room was jam-packed full of pink gifts from friends and relatives and various other well-wishers. And the booty of gifts included about a zillion baby blankets. Blankets that were better for swaddling, and that fit much better in her little bassinet that she slept in right next to my bed. I looked at the big and bulky yellow Winnie-the-Pooh blanket I had bought and put it aside in favor of the other smaller blankets.

Soon it was hot, hot summertime, and my little furnace was not interested in any blankets of any kind, except for maybe a light receiving blanket to cuddle with at night. Every once in awhile while I was putting away laundry, I would pick up the yellow blanket and snuggle it, then put it back. It was much too warm for those sweltering hot days.

Then as autumn fell upon us, and the nights grew colder, I pulled out that beautiful yellow blanket. When she went to bed that night, I put it on her and it fit just perfectly in her crib. She grabbed it with her little fist, rubbed it against her cheek just like I had done in the store over a year before, closed her eyes and went to sleep. When I went to get her in the morning, she was still clutching that blanket tight. When I picked her up, she wouldn't let go. We held onto it and took it downstairs with us. We snuggled in it while we had our morning bottle. It sat next to her on the floor while she played, and she dragged it behind her while she toodled around in her walker. That night, she wouldn't go to bed without it.

And it's been like that every day since.

It's her first favorite thing, that beautiful blanket that I picked out for her. And I get a little tiny lump in my throat whenever I see her give it a little snuggle. I knew she would love it. I just knew it.

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