Thursday, July 31, 2008
Bye-Bye Bobby: The End of an Era
It all started at around 10 a.m. July 2,2003. That's when my sweet sister-in-law, Beth, came into the hospital room where I was snuggling with Nate, who was just under sixteen hours old.
She placed a 12x12-inch square of velvety,baby-blue fabric in his hospital bassinet. It was a brand-new "lovie" blanket; her daughter had one as a baby and as comfort objects go, she assured me it was the best. Because of its size, it was totally portable and could easily be stuffed into a diaper bag, and the material was so silky and soothing that it had an almost magical effect on a cranky baby.
She encouraged me to cuddle with it a bit so Nate would pick up my scent on the blanket. When I did, I could see what she meant- - -I remember all too well the calming sensation of the satin trim of my childhood blanket between my finger and thumb, how it made the world just slip away. I gently laid the lovie on Nate's chest.
Here was our first sign: he clutched it right away, and fluttered his tiny eyelids as if in recognition of an old friend. Newborns are so between two worlds anyway, so maybe that blanket just reminded his soul of its previous heavenly home. Who knows, but from that moment on they were darned near inseperable.
That blanket, named "Bobby" by two-year-old Liv (we still don't know why) was dragged everywhere with Nate and got him through the transition from crib to big-boy bed. I hate to admit it, but we relied on ol' Bobby as much as he did at times. Concerned about how Nate will handle sleeping over at Grandpa's for the first time? No worries, we've got Bobby. Afraid the baby will get restless on the five-hour road trip? Pack that Bobby. NOW.
Nate referred to Bobby as a "him," a living, breathing best bud. Bobby couldn't be left outside because he might get cold. Bobby can't be left in the hamper all night because he might get scared. Bobby's dirty and needs a bath. Bobby was almost part of the family, and eventually became a permanent fixture on Nate's pillow, ready for nighttime duty.
Until two weeks ago. That's when Nate decided that as bonafide five-year-old, he didn't need Bobby anymore. He instructed Mark to "take it to the Goodwill store so another baby can buy it." Mark nodded in agreement, then came downstairs and gingerly handed the tattered piece of blanket-trocity over to me and said "We're supposed to be taking this to 'Goodwill.'" He used air quotes. I love it when he uses air quotes.
"I think Goodwill will ban us from ever donating anything again if we drop that thing off." I said. We decided the top shelf of the guestroom closet, waaay in the back, would do for now.
It hasn't been an ultra-smooth transition. Nate has asked for an extra hug or two at bedtime "Because I miss Bobby," but for the most part he's really moved on. But this means that our baby has taken one more giant step to big-boyhood. Maybe it's us, the parents, who aren't truly ready.
I want my Bobby.