Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Letting Wink Go

The return trip from New Harbor, Maine (the reason for my recent silence) this past weekend was surprisingly easy, considering everything you hear about air travel these days. We were flying Sunday morning, so the airport was empty; a quick baggage check-in, no lines at security, and empty gates to run three-year-olds around. However, this was not a painless trip. During the aforementioned running, Eamonn (the aforementioned three-year-old) lost track of his security blanket--a fact neither of his parents realized until it was time to board the plane.

"Where's Wink?" is a common refrain in our house, as a quick search commences to find the ratty, grey fabric square that used to be a scarf. It is usually behind a chair in the living room, or under a stool in the kitchen, but it was always found and snatched up by E, to be stroked by his un-sucked hand. Well, not anymore. We frantically searched the concourse and restrooms, looked under chairs and around service desks, but Wink remained unfound. We were the last people to board the plane, with stricken looks on all our faces, as the realization set in that Wink was staying at Boston's Logan International.

Eamonn has been surprising stoic during all of this. He was a bit sad when we landed in Chicago and no one stepped forward with the blanket (as we were taking off, he suggested that some one "might find my Winkie and bring it on the plane for us"). He mentions Wink daily, and how we are "sad, but not crying" that Wink was lost. But, he has transfered his routine to a couple of back-up blankets he used in day care and they seem to be enough at night, or when he's being read to. Wow, what a cool practicer of vairagya (non-attachment).

I, on the other hand, am taking this a lot harder. The idea of that powerful little scrap of fabric, wadded up in the bottom of a trash bag with half-eaten doughnuts, soaking up tossed-out Starbucks is more than I can bear. I guess it's a symbol of E's child/babyhood that I'm not ready to see go, yet. So many little rituals surrounded that blanket, that I get sick to my stomach thinking they are a thing of the past. And yet, Eamonn has accepted Wink's disappearance and has moved on.

So I'm trying to let Wink go...I have a sappy movie montage going through my head of various Wink moments that makes me wistful (playing peek-a-boo with Alec, playing keep-away with his grandfather, carrying Hot Wheels around in it, balling it up under his head while watching TV)...but, I guess it's not really my blanket to mourn. As usual, the child becomes the guru. His ability to self-soothe is transferable; if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. It's not the blanket, itself, that matters; it's being able to calm and comfort yourself with what you have at hand.

However, I found a strand of Wink this morning under the dresser (Wink's fringe was constantly shedding) that I might bag up and stick in a scrapbook. Eamonn has detached, but I'm still clinging...


Dixlet said...


What a great post. I find myself packing up the silliest things for Teagan's memory box and ask myself who I'm really saving stuff for...him or me?

Your post made me think of the quote below. When I went to find it and read it, I got a bit weepy at my desk.

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." The Velveteen Rabbit


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh,
The headline got me in the gut. I have the original Teddy Bear that I refused to go to sleep without until I was probably seven! A couple years ago my mom put all of her stuff in storage for a few months and I couldn't stand the thought of my bear being in storage, so he has been at my house ever since. And I'm 38!

Nadine Fawell said...

I had a 'Feel'. It was a threadbare, ratty (see the common theme) pink blanket with the remainders of Minnie Mouse's face on it. I think my mom might still have it.

Love dxilet's quote from the Velveteen Rabbit. I read it in one of Stephen Cope's books, and it really stuck in my head too.

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Anonymous said...

best post ever.