Friday, March 6, 2015

loved to shreds

four months old
I knew my second child would be a boy.  I didn't need an ultrasound to tell me that.  So I chose a nice royal blue, acrylic yarn and found a knitting pattern for a baby blanket that perhaps, just maybe, I could finish in nine months time.

"What if you end up with a girl?" my mother asked.  "You'll have to knit a pink one."  Raising one eyebrow, I said, "she'll learn to love blue."

After my son was born, I finished up the final rows there in the hospital, he swaddled on my bed while I stitched the pattern from memory.  It was the largest knitting project I had ever undertaken, and I was quite proud of myself.  Not every stitch was perfect, but it finished off to a nice 40 inch square blanket.  And since that day in the hospital, he has quite literally loved his blanket to shreds.

two years old mesmerized by the tv
Although I had plenty of hand-me-downs from his older sister and a handmade baby quilt from my mother, I used the knit blanket everywhere.  I wasn't afraid to get it dirty or wet or have the cat sleep on it.  And gradually my son claimed it as the most important thing.  It wasn't just me putting it in the crib from force of habit, it was him, tucking it under one arm no matter where he went. 

The lowly acrylic blanket had been elevated in rank into the sacrosanct category of a Child's Favorite. It felt perfect.  It smelled perfect. It provided comfort and guaranteed safety.  It was hallowed and magical.

And today it is in shreds.  As you can imagine a two-year old cares not for the occasional snag on which he catches his blanket.  That's nothing a good hard yank can't fix.  He cares not if the cat plays with a looped out stitch, and in so doing, causes the stitch to rip and several more stitches pull out.  The treasured blanket becomes not only a fishing net for the dog but also a hobo's sack for Monster Trucks. 

At first I tried to tie off the broken strings, tried to close up the largest holes, but it got to be pointless.  The blanket was un-knitting itself faster than I could keep up.  Today, eight years later, we lovingly refer to it as his "wad of yarn."  Immediately he turns the Evil Eye on us that clearly infers he still loves it beyond all else.  Its current condition has done nothing to lessen its magic.  He still sleeps with it every night.  It still gets dragged down for Saturday morning cartoons.  It still packs in the suitcase for every trip.  I could lament the loss of so many hours of handwork on my part, but honestly, his devotion speaks volumes.  I can only hope that someday he'll cherish another one of my gifts just as fiercely. 


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