“I did something terrible.”
I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant with one of my best friends. It was a routine lunch date… we were catching up on life over quesadillas and salsa. The conversation up to this point had been light… nothing too deep or emotional. But the guilt over the horrible sin I had committed was weighing heavily on me, and I felt the need to confess to someone other than my husband… someone who would understand the gravity of my transgression.
My friend stopped, mid-chew, and stared at me.
“What did you do?”
“Something awful.” I stared at her.
She started chewing again, and I could see her turning this over in her mind. I knew she was picturing me murdering someone and dumping the body in the woods… stealing money from a charitable organization… intentionally popping a child’s balloon… or deleting the Alabama-LSU national championship from our DVR. Unfortunately, what she didn’t know at that moment, was that what I had actually done was worse… much, much worse.
“WHAT did you DO?” She asked again.
“I…” I hesitated. “You can’t tell anyone about this,” I told her.
She nodded, solemnly.
I dropped my voice to a whisper.
“I lost the Grandma Blanket!”
Her eyes grew wide. She gasped. “No you didn’t!”
“Yes I did,” I moaned, knowing that she, having lived with my family for several months, would understand the gravity of the situation.
You see, the Grandma Blanket is a sacred thing. It is definitely the most valued possession in my family. It is a patchwork blanket, made by Grandma. It is colorful. It is warm. It has little yarn knots all over it. It is comforting. It has magical powers. When you are sad, and you snuggle up with the Grandma Blanket, you immediately feel better. If you are sick, sleep one night with the Grandma Blanket and you are sure to feel better the next day (it’s a good idea to pretend you’re still sick, though, so as to earn one more night with the Blanket). Naps taken with the Grandma Blanket are a million times more restful than any other.
The Grandma Blanket is a highly coveted item. Wars have been fought over the Grandma Blanket. Rubber bands have been shot, voices have been raised, objects have been thrown. People have gone without speaking for hours because of the Grandma Blanket being stolen. I, personally, have snuck into my brother’s room repeatedly while he was at work to rescue it from the filth that he subjected it to (it always disappeared from my room and ended up back in his by the end of the day).
Eventually, the Grandma Blanket began to wear out. Too many washings after sleeping with a sick person… too many pulls at the little yarn knots… too many naps, snuggles, and tugs-of-war over it. It developed holes. The edges started to fray. My mom hid it. World War Three broke out. We begged for her to get it back out. We bargained. We offered to pay her. She stood firm, insisting that in order for it to survive for us to be adults (I shudder to think how we will resolve who gets to keep it at that point in our lives), it needed to be tucked away in a safe place. We hunted for it, to no avail. The Grandma Blanket was gone.
Grandma understood that her blanket was valued. I don’t think she understood HOW valued, but she knew we liked it a lot. So, last September she presented my family with a new Grandma Blanket… and she presented Jonathan and I with our VERY! OWN! GRANDMA BLANKET!
The colors are a little different than the original. But it is still colorful. It still has yarn knots. It is still comforting and snuggly and warm and wonderful. The same Grandma made it, and it still has the same soothing effect when it is wrapped around you. And THIS Grandma Blanket only has to be shared with TWO people… not six (or seven, or eight, depending on how many people happened to be living in our house at the time).
The Grandma blanket rode in the front seat with us almost the whole way to Alaska. It stayed on our couch while in Alaska. It kept us warm on cold evenings. It helped us be not so homesick sometimes. It rode in the front seat back to Alabama. We covered up with it and mourned the loss of our niece, Anna Grace, who we never got to meet. We snuggled up with it and slept during the loooooooong boring drives through Saskatchewan and North Dakota. We unpacked it carefully and carried it into our little house and draped it over the couch (where it never stays for long).
And then, we took the Grandma Blanket along with us to Kentucky, for the wedding of two of my best friends. One of the bridesmaids (and my former roommate… we’ll call her B) was doing a bit of couch-surfing while we were there, and she didn’t have a blanket to sleep with. So, I loaned her the Grandma Blanket, knowing that it would not only keep her warm but ensure that she had good dreams.
After the wedding, we packed up B’s things to get ready to go home (she was riding with us as far as Nashville). We still had some time in the area, and we spent an afternoon relaxing… until someone who had been staying in the same apartment as B called us to say they had found the Grandma Blanket! I realized, with a twinge of horror, that I had forgotten to ask about it when we packed B’s stuff up… but it was okay, because it was safe in the apartment! The caller told us she had left for home, but she left in a chair in the living room. It would be no problem to go pick it up.
But it was a problem. Because it wasn’t there anymore.
We searched the apartment. We turned it inside out. We looked in bizarre, illogical places. It was nowhere to be found. We called people. We asked if they’d seen the blanket… but no one had. The Grandma Blanket was gone.
We had a book when I was little, about a little frog who had a Blankey that he loved. It went everywhere with him. One day, though, he lost Blankey… and he was absolutely distraught. If I remember right, he adjusted and learned how to live life without his Blankey… and soon after, the Blankey turned back up. His mom pointed out to him that he obviously didn’t really need Blankey anymore, so he packed it up in a box and stored it away. He said, “Bye bye Blankey, it’s been fun… bye bye cuddly cozy one!”
I heard that rhyme over and over in my head while we were hunting for the Grandma Blanket. I could see the picture in my head of the little frog putting Blankey in a box because he didn’t need it anymore. But I knew, deep down inside, that I would never adjust to life without the Grandma Blanket.
We drove back to Alabama… without the Grandma Blanket. I cried a little bit, I am not going to lie. I cried a little bit the next day, too… and the next day. It was terrible.
I was very careful not to let it slip to my family that our Grandma Blanket was gone. I almost let it out a few times… but I didn’t. I kept my mouth shut. I had hope that it would turn up one day, and I did not want them to judge me just yet… or ever. I figured they could wait until I died and they were going through my things and didn’t find the Blanket before they needed to know.
As I was spilling this story to my friend, she just shook her head. She knew the depth of what I had done… I could tell she was just as horrified as I was.
“Your family must never know!” she warned me.
“Oh, I know!” I told her. I had already imagined the lynching that would take place if they found out.
I stared down at the table in sadness, contemplating my bleak future without a Grandma Blanket, when my cell phone vibrated. It was a text from B.
“I know who has your blanket!” it read (or something along those lines).
I almost fell out of the booth.
A friend of a friend who happened to be the Resident Director of the apartment the blanket was supposed to be in had it… someone who we had already asked about it. I don’t know how she got it. I never found out.
I just knew that another friend (the bride who’s wedding we had gone for) picked it up for me, packed it in a box, and shipped it home. And what a glorious homecoming it was!
The Grandma Blanket has been found. I took a nap with it this afternoon, and it was very, very good. Perhaps Grandma will forgive me for the near loss of her hard work. Perhaps my brothers will forgive me for the terrible thing that I did. Perhaps, one day, my mom will return the original Grandma Blanket to us.
But that might be too much to hope for.