With my daughter, it was a monkey. A little stuffed monkey with a rattle inside. She sleeps with it still. My son has his cheetah. A small stuffed cheetah, swag that I brought home from a conference but somehow more important to him than the pluto or goofy we bought him at Disney.
Today, Lisa shares her story of her littlest and a blankie. I feel the same way about the day when monkey and cheetah are no longer clung to in the same way.
I met Lisa a month ago at Blog U and we even hung out in her dorm room so she feels like an old college friend! I am so honored to have her here today. Enjoy her words and then be sure to visit her at The Golden Spoons!
My youngest daughter, my “baby,” will turn seven in just a few short weeks. Somehow, seven seems like such a huge leap from six. It’s second grade instead of first. It’s more independence and more personality shining through. It’s hard for this mama to wrap her heart around it.
It’s also this:
That’s my sweet girl still groggy one morning after having just rolled out of bed. She is snuggling a familiar friend – one of her many “blankies.” In times of fatigue or fright, these rags that are nothing more than old cloth diapers once used as burp cloths, are her trusty companions.
When she was an infant, I would nurse her and, then, hold her on my shoulder with a blankie slung across it to catch the inevitable. As I patted her tiny back, she would, eventually, rest her head on my shoulder and fall asleep with her delicate, little cheek pressed against the softness of the cloth.
As she grew, she continued to find comfort in those blankies. She would cover her face with them, taking in their clean scent, as she dozed off. She carried them with her everywhere and I did not dare to leave the house without a primary and a spare.
Time marched on, though, and the blankies became less necessary. She went to preschool and they stayed in the car. Then, she went to kindergarten and they stayed at home. Now, at almost seven, she still snuggles them through the night and whenever they are not a hindrance during the day, but she doesn’t need them like she once did.
Nevertheless, she clings to them still. Metaphorically, I cling to them, too. You see, they are the last shred of babyness left in her; left in our lives.
When we had her, our third daughter, we knew with confidence that she would be our last. I have never regretted that decision and have no desire for a fourth. However, with that decision, every single one of her firsts also became a last. The last first words; the last first steps; the last first birthday; the last first day of preschool and kindergarten. Soon, the very last day ever of having a six year old. I am extremely grateful and proud as I watch her grow. I appreciate her increasing self sufficiency and her ever blossoming personality. Yet, there is something so incredibly bittersweet about all of these lasts firsts.
The pacifiers and diapers are long gone, but the blankies remain. As she, again, takes in their scent and feels their softness against her freckled cheek, I cling to the last remaining morsels of a rapidly disappearing phase of life. As I look forward to the future, I also hold on to the past.
One day, she will spread her wings and fly away, but, even then, I’m certain the blankies will stay. Perhaps, then, I will be the one pressing them to my cheek, soaking up tears; finding comfort in their softness and the perfume of days gone by.
Lisa Witherspoon is a former preschool teacher turned blogger and freelance writer, who lives in North Carolina with her husband and three amazing daughters. Fueled by coffee and chocolate, Lisa writes about the joys, frustrations, surprises, and chaos of motherhood on her blog, The Golden Spoons. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.