“You were Real to the Boy,” the Fairy said, “because he loved you. Now, you shall be Real to every one.”
– Nursery Magic Fairy, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
When my daughter was an infant, my mother-in-law gave her Bear and my dear friend Jeanne gave her a purple Comfort Silkie Blankie. Fish took to them almost instantly and the two traveled everywhere with us. B&B were a team. I wasn’t able to locate another bear, but we bought several more Blankies and rotated them regularly so they wore relatively evenly. This way if one were lost, (GOD FORBID), Blankie would not be gone for good (and Mom & Dad could still sleep at night). For most of the first two years of her life, Fish thought there was only one Blankie. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she discovered the Blankie stash. It was like Christmas. She grabbed them all and snuggled them close.
After a while, Fish settled on one specific Blankie for comfort. Thankfully by then she was able to keep track of Blankie herself and the world did not come to a screeching halt if Blankie could not be immediately located. Blankie’s importance has definitely diminished over the years, but she remains part of Fish’s inner circle of confidants. We kept the others (down to two from a high of four) in a drawer “just in case”.
Lately, poor Blankie has been showing her age. Her flannel side is thread bear and has disintegrated in to long shreds. Her tag (probably her most important part) is literally hanging on by a thread*. She’s had to stay home a few times for fear of not surviving camping or air travel. Still she perseveres and provides much needed comfort. She’s a trooper!
Bear too is showing her age, she’s lumpy and has required several nose jobs over the years (props to Grammy and her mad sewing skills), but she has been Blankie’s faithful nurse and companion and she too is a member of the inner circle. I’m grateful to them both for their service. Not many would tolerate being smooshed under a feverish child, being drenched in vomit or stuffed into a small backpack to travel on adventures. Still, they provide comfort and keep secrets and are to be lauded for their efforts.
Someday, they too will be Real.
*Right after I wrote this, the thread broke and Blankie and her tag were separated forever.
“I now sleep with one of the replacements. I’ll never give up the old one until she’s a few threads held together by nothing but love.” – Fish