For me, this has always been a favorite image: my daughter, with her dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes, dragging her blankie behind her. My daughter’s blankie was actually her older brother’s first. Originally white, it has the words “Thank goodness for little boys” embroidered across the bottom. It’s not the most beautiful thing in the world. Its ends are frayed and its color is now a dingy gray, but they’ve been through a lot together, that blankie and my girl.
For years that blankie was like a member of our family. It went with us on every road trip to Grandma’s, sometimes serving as a pillow and sometimes covering her tiny body in the back seat.
It padded every grocery cart she sat in as a toddler, and acted alternately as a bride’s veil, the roof of a pillow fort, and a baby doll’s bedding.
Lately, though, my 3 year old hasn’t remembered to ask for it at bedtime. She doesn’t insist we go back inside the house to retrieve it from her room before running an errand in town. She no longer takes it with her to preschool for nap time, and her days of dragging it across the kitchen floor are over.
There’s no doubt about it. My baby’s growing up.
She’s onto big girl things; Barbies and tea sets and princess everything. As my last “baby” part of me hoped she’d remain in babyhood just a little bit longer.
She’s sleeping now, upstairs in her big girl bed. Soon I’ll climb the stairs to check on her; I’ll kiss her cheek and silently say goodnight. I’ll take her blankie, frayed and gray, in my hands and remember all the other nights she held it close.
It’s an image that is tattooed across this mother’s heart in ink and it will never fade.
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Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.