Friday, April 18, 2008

My blanket

My precious Grandma made baby blankets and would give them to her children when they had babies so each of us grandchildren (and now greatgrandchildren) would have a baby blanket from Grandma. On my 4th birthday, Grandma came to my party with a gift. I opened it and there was a beautiful, big blanket with strawberries on it. I loved that blanket and carried it everywhere with me. I would lay on our floor air-conditioning vent with the blanket over me and it would puff up from the trapped air and I would sing into the vent. At night, I would snuggle up with it. As it turns out, I was also a knob (the pieces of yarn tied in knots used to hold the blanket together in the middle) twister, so by the time I was eighteen, all the strawberries were gone.

At that time, I asked Grandma if she would re-do my blanket. She said she didn't have any strawberries, but she had some hearts. I said that was fine. When I got it back, it was four inches shorter (an inch from every side) (because she had to cut off the seams from around the blanket and start over). I was thankful, but now the blanket hit me at my chest and ankles when before if I scrunched up, I could still hide under it.

Well, I continued to sleep with it (and twist the knobs). I got married when I was twenty-five and my blanket crawled into our bed as well. And I started to realize why that blanket meant so much to me. It had been given to me with love. Everytime I carried it around or snuggled with it or crawled under it, I felt loved and comforted. And in a way, it also reminded me of God's love--always there, blanketing me with its warmth. So I've always felt doubly loved. It was as if God told Grandma to make me this blanket (I have no knowledge of anyone else getting one for their birthday, other than their baby blanket) because he knew it was his way of giving me a tangible piece of love to cling to (because I'm a sensitive soul and I need it). This blanket means a lot to me, because I feel God's love and Grandma's.

As you can imagine when I continued to twist, the hearts disappeared and the blanket was pretty worn and dirty (I don't like washing them--they lose their special smell they have acquired and then you have to start over for it to reaquire the special smell, plus you have to wait with bated breath in front of the washer and dryer because you don't know if what went in will come out the same or not). In the past couple of years, I've thought it was probably about time for me to re-cover the blanket. I talked with Grandma about it and told her I was going to have to re-cover it, but wasn't going to ask her to do it as I was afraid it was going to lose another four inches (then would it only cover my elbows to my knees?) (how can I feel comfort and love if I can't get under the blanket?). She just laughed.

I went ahead a year ago and took some of my birthday money to buy blanket material. I was thrilled to find some strawberries (not quite like the ones from when I was four--those were on a red background, but I definitely wanted strawberries). I bought almost six feet of material for each side (because I wanted to be able to get my whole body under it again--I've grown some since I was four!). I hadn't done anything with the material for a year because I knew it would involve taking apart the blanket that is left, then washing it (couldn't risk washing the blanket as it was as it looked as if it would disintegrate and that would have made me cry). Then Grandma passed. And then one evening last week I had some time and I thought maybe it was time to re-do my blanket.

It wasn't easy. I had to bring in another card table to set up by my kitchen table to make it long enough to hold the material, which I laid out. Then I had to carefully take my blanket apart (only held together by one side seam and five sporadic knobs) and separate it into two and carefully smooth them out. I put the backing on top of all that, then went in and painstakingly put knobs in all over that blanket to hold it together (which was especially crucial as it was in two pieces inside and full of holes, ragged edges, etc.). I got that done and pinned it together to sew, which I did the next day. It was pretty thick and heavy to sew (Grandma had sewn and old blanket inside for extra warmth when I was four, then when I was eighteen, she enclosed everything that was left in between two new pieces of flannel, and I did the same at thirty-seven, although extended the blanket to make it long enough for me now. It is pretty substantial.)

Then, I put it in the wash (gentle cycle) and prayed everything would be okay with it. When it was all done, I left it out to dry. And then when it was dry, I held it and it didn't feel like my blanket and it no longer smelled like my blanket and I wanted to cry. So I waited a day and then I experimentally snuggled up with it and it felt good. I huddled under it and I felt warmed. I sniffed it and it doesn't smell like it should, but I'm hoping that comes with time. It makes me a little sad that I had to re-do it, not because I twisted all the knobs off, but because it is a change from the old one and I'm still having to adjust to not having Grandma here and now I'm having to adjust to a new blanket. But maybe both those things are okay and maybe now was the perfect time. God loves me and he is in heaven and Grandma still loves me and she is in heaven. Grandma's been changed, so I guess it is fitting that my blanket has been changed and is now long enough for me to cover completely up and feel twice as much love.

Here it is! My new, changed, strawberry blanket.

This white baby blanket on top shows you how much bigger my blanket is than a baby blanket.

And somebody else likes my blanket, too! (Although I have made her one of her own--it has little dogs on it and words like "Bark at the mailman," "Play ball," "Eat," "Sleep," "Chase the cats...".)

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