Did I tell you all about this? I’m actually in a book. No, that’s not me in the lotus position there. My NAME is in this book. My writing is in this book. While it’s just a self-published anthology by a group of Bay Area writers, not some sort of widely read book of high esteem, my name is on a page in a book. And I find that to be pretty cool, even if the only people who own it are the people who contributed to it.
Last year I wrote a story on my blog that my mother insisted I send to her writing teacher of the local writing group that my mom has enjoyed being a part of for several years. I did and her teacher kindly offered to add my story to the anthology.
And just so you don’t have to go hunting for it, here is my little short story that is in the book.
Bye Bye Babyhood
He tried to smile and hold back the tears as the pajama clad six year old boy lovingly, carefully folded his blankie neatly into a perfect square. He had been prepared for this moment for several months. His Mommy had told him that around the time of his sixth birthday it would be time to put his baby blanket into his memory box under mamma’s bed.
The first discussion of this momentous occasion many months before had drawn bittersweet tears for his entrance into a new phase of childhood. He knew that he couldn’t keep it with him forever. He laughed when Mommy asked him if he was planning on taking it to college with him when he went. He was excited that putting this blankie away as a memory signified the fact that he was now big enough to begin enjoying the benefits of growing older, such as losing baby teeth and being able to play on a soccer team.
He held it tight for one last time and tried to smile and say that he was excited to be growing up. Like the little man that he is, he did not want to cry in front of his Mom and little brothers about this and thus prove to them that a shred of him still felt needful of the blankie. As he prepared to put it away, he fell into Mom’s arms and was assured that it was okay to cry. Tears began to roll with greater speed down his freshly washed rose colored cheeks.
Still, the bittersweet taste of his tears were felt not just by him but by his mother as well as she cradled his head. Resting her cheek on his tussled bath water hair she made sure he knew that she understood why he cried. He would miss his little blankie. It had been with him all this way and now it was going to be left alone with all the other memories in a plastic box in the dark under a bed rather than snuggled up under him in his bed along with Pat, Rover and Pup. These three and blankie had faithfully been his bed buddies and playmates for so long.
Gone would be the days where it would be worn around his neck as a Super hero cape, gone would be the days that he would lay it on the floor as a sleeping bag with a tiny pillow and line his bed buddies up on it for a camp out in the living room.
In a show of support for their big brother, brother two and brother three, somberly brought forth their blankies and ceremonially, like war flags, handed them to Mother saying, “We want to put ours in our memory boxes too. We don’t want them anymore. We are big.” Mommy knew though that if she had done what they had asked, bed time would have quickly turned into a torrent of tears.
This was the oldest boys’ moment anyways. This was his road to travel… Not something that needed to be shared by all.
In a way, he felt special. Though he cried tears of sorrow as he tenderly packed his beloved blankie into the box and snapped the top shut, he was proud that he was the first to go down this road. He was the biggest and he knew that his response to this would show to his brothers that growing up is something to look forward to.
As they said prayers that night, his little brother went before them all, making sure to mention to the Almighty that his big brother was growing up and “Thanks that he got to put his blankie in the memory box with all his baby stuff…” When it came time for the now blankieless six year old to offer up his prayers, out choked the sweet words that proved that this was indeed a coming of age moment…
“Dear God… Thank you that I’m growing up. Thank you that I’m going to lose teeth soon. Thank you that you love me. Please help me to want to know you better. Please help me to want to obey you….”
As the lights went out and the sun went down, as the day sounds faded from his ears, as his brothers’ rhythmic sleep breaths fell into cadence, he whispered words of assurance to Pat and Rover and Pup that they would be with him for a long time. And the big boy drifted off to sleep without his baby blanket.
copyright 06/07 – Nan/Writer-Mom/Life is Like a Lunchbox