You’re lost. Are you in a trash bin somewhere? Maybe you got picked up with the other blankets and washed and you are waiting for someone to notice that you don’t belong there. Maybe you are behind a desk somewhere, one of those things that will be gotten to when there’s time. Maybe you are on some kind of great blanket adventure in another city, backpacking and sleeping in youth hostels while you drink wine and pretend you know how to smoke. Maybe you are sitting under a pile of other things left on a plane. All I know is that you are not here and that’s not right.
You’re old as far as blankets go, and far passed your ability to keep anybody warm. Your print has faded and your edges are frayed from 3,614 nights of being wrapped around this little blonde boy. You’ve never been apart from him, you’ve been in every car trip, every sleepover, every asthma attack and late night breathing treatment. You’ve visited four emergency rooms. You started off wrapping him up in puppy softness, his tiny hands and feet poking out because he really didn’t like being swaddled. I know you’re not supposed to let your baby sleep with a blanket, but sleep deprivation will make you forget those rules, and you were the magic key to sleep. He grew, and you did not. Time passed from swaddling to teething to superhero cape. And now you are less played with, but no less loved. You have your place of honor on his pillow, ready to snuggle with whenever wanted.
And you’re still wanted.
While he grew in my belly, I slowly grew out of the fear that we would lose him. We lost babies before so my heart was cautious, not wanting to get too attached to him. I chose names with trepidation, and looked at baby clothes like one would look at a beautiful piece of jewelry, seeing that it’s lovely and thinking maybe, maybe someday I could have something that beautiful. Around five months into the pregnancy, my doctor smiled and said “It’s a boy!” I don’t know why, but something about being able to think about my son loosened the grip of fear just a bit. I decided it was okay to relax a little and get excited about being a mother. I went into a store and wandered over to the blanket section.
I can get him a blanket. That’s not assuming too much, right? And if something happens, I can donate it.
So I searched until I found a sweet blue blanket with white puppies on it. You were bought and carefully placed in an empty crib.
When Josiah got old enough to talk, he couldn’t say “blankey”, but he could say “Monkey” so that became your name. It was confusing for more than one babysitter! Once, a friend called while we were on a date because a toddler Josiah was crying pitifully for “monkey” and the friend had given him every stuffed monkey he could possibly find and Josiah just kept crying for you. When it was decided Josiah would go with his dad on a mission trip to Ethiopia, we talked about whether or not he would take you. Josiah was worried he wouldn’t be able to sleep without you, but he also thought maybe, maybe it was time to start letting you go. We decided to experiment for a night. Josiah lasted twenty minutes before you were back in his bed. I thought you probably sighed in relief too.
But in all the excitement and craziness of the flight, you got left behind on the plane. He discovered it as soon as we got home. I haven’t seen him cry that hard, maybe ever, and I joined right in. We called the airline and they are trying, but so far they can’t find you. This afternoon he wanted to take a nap, and asked hopefully if the airline had called. I watched that hope trickle out of his eyes when I said they had not found you yet. This boy, the one with who’s almost as tall as me, the one who has to be reminded to stop and kiss his mother, the one who laughs when I can’t figure out the math problems on his homework, the one who flew thousands of miles away to share the gospel with grown men and women, I held this boy as he cried and I cried too. And now I sit here as he naps restlessly next to me, praying and trying to accept that you might be gone forever.
I still hope that someone finds you and realizes how important you must be to someone. But I want this more- I want to learn to hold loosely to the things in this world. It’s easy to say that until you actually lose them. But the truth is, he’s upset about losing you, but I’m upset because you represent something to me- that tiny boy that I longed for, that idea that I mistakenly believed would complete my life and make it mean something. I made being a mother my god, and you might have been a blue with white puppies idol. Not having you is one more step into letting this boy go, and that is gut wrenching. (Today I thought- if I cry this hard over a blanket, you better go ahead and set up my Xanax IV when he goes to college. ) Not having you is one more tiny step towards trusting Jesus to be the source of comfort, the source of joy. To enjoy the things of this world, but not to find life in them. Not having you is a reminder to me that blankets and babies make terrible gods, as blankets fray and get lost and babies grow and leave.
I’d love for you to be returned but I won’t stifle our tears if you’re not, because I want to demonstrate what it looks like to grieve with trust that God loves us. More than a beloved blanket, I want Josiah’s childhood to be remembered as the beginning of his walk with Jesus, where he learned how to take a deep breath and say “I don’t like it or understand why, but I choose to trust You.”
*This blanket was left on a Lufthansa flight 438 on Sunday, July 28th at around 1:45pm in DFW. If anyone has any information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @brandyb77 PLEASE SHARE!