Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Mom told me that she was sewing a blanket last weekend. I gasped.

“Did Little One lose hers? Where is it?”

“No, no. She has it. Linda thought she should leave one at her house so when she goes to daycare, she doesn’t have to drag the same one back and forth. Brother’s wife asked if she should buy one or if I’d like to make her another one. They’re easy, so I said I’d do it.”

I had a little Tenderheart Bear when I was little – one of the small, plush ones. I took him everywhere – he went with me in the cart at stores, to Grandma and Grandpa’s during the day, then back home at night. We played school in the basement and sandbox in the backyard. He rode on my lap when I took my Big Wheel up and down the sidewalk. And slept with me and my blanket at night.

And the day came when I couldn’t find him.

I cried and cried until I had every member of the family out looking for a new one. We had trouble obtaining one with the appropriate speed, so I drove with Grandpa to a place farther out of town. We found one and though the disappointment still weighed heavily in my young heart (I missed old Tenderheart), I loved new Tenderheart and cuddled him on the ride back to my house.

After introducing new Tenderheart to the rest of the family – he was my new best friend – I took him outside to ride in the basket of my tricycle. And found old Tenderheart waiting inside said white basket.

“Which one are you going to take?” Mom would ask before we ran an errand. And I would look at her quizzically – both Tenderhearts cradled in my arms. So eventually she stopped asking – I had one brown bear with a red heart stitched on his tummy for each arm. So my twin toys – one slightly more worn than the other – traveled a good deal.

I asked Mom how the new blanket went over when I sent my nightly email yesterday. She responded – as is her habit – early this morning.

The point, she reminded me, was to leave a blanket at daycare so that Little One didn’t have to drag one back and forth, risking the possibility of loss or damage. Little One liked the new blanket very much. So much that she wouldn’t leave it anywhere. So now there are two blankets that go from daycare to Grandma and Grandpa’s then back home again. Because she requires them both to be available at all times.

And I smiled happily despite the early hour in which I read the note, my sore muscles that would later be massaged into some comfort and my lingering lethargy.

Because, well, the Little One? She’s one of us.

And if my stomach clenches with an excess of worry sometimes? That she too might struggle with bad headaches and depression like Aunt Katie? Have a bit of a drinking problem like her dad? Heart problems and a quick temper like Grandpa? Asthma and a tendency to offer more than she has to spare like Grandma? What if people make fun of her and she cries like I did in junior high? If she smokes and cuts class like Brother in high school? The traits and habits we pass on aren’t always good ones.

But I can think of her clinging to two blankets as she makes her way from house to house – always surrounded by people who love and encourage her. She’ll always know she’s safe with us – that we think she’s smart and beautiful and special. That we love to hear what she thinks and will find a way to get her whatever it is that she needs. She loves animals and is very gentle with them (for the most part – she tried to lay on Chienne once and received a warning growl in return. In all fairness, my dog will surrender most toys to my little niece when everyone else is battled for possession). She offers hugs and kisses easily. She likes TV but prefers books.

And she’s fond of stuff – toys that make noise, some that are cuddly, others that can be carted around easily. I’m already shopping for Christmas presents and I’m far behind everyone else in the family. I love the little girl dearly. And while I worry that I might see some of my lesser traits mirrored in the future, I remain pleased that I can share my Tenderheart story when I tease her about her multiple blankets someday.

1 comment:

Joy said...

Don't worry about the negative things that could happen. Your navigating your own life will lead you to be stronger and she will see that as well.

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