Finding security in ever-changing world

Published 2:30 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

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A remnant of my daughter’s security blanket hangs in my husband’s former office. I hope she will forgive me for publically reminiscing about her attachment to that soft piece of fabric that once meant so much to her. She wasn’t even two years old when her granddaddy gave her the soft, cuddly stadium blanket. She latched on to it immediately.

As children of a military family, it was almost certain that she and her older brother had several moves ahead of them from military quarters both in the states and overseas.

My sentimental mother saved the letters I wrote to her and my daddy while we were stationed in Germany. To this day, they are crammed in a big shoe box labeled “Germany letters.” Through the years I have sometimes pulled them out to read over again. One day, I just picked one in random. My closing line in it was “I washed Amy’s blanket today and she cried until it dried.” I chuckled at that statement, wondering just how many times she cried beside my dryer or at a clothesline. There she stood, waiting on that very special blanket to dry.

It was not easy for our children to adjust to new surroundings. Our precious little daughter and very active son had enjoyed our living with their grandparents while we waited on orders to join their daddy. She especially missed him. When she was tired or irritable, she reached for her blanket for comfort. When our departure orders arrived, both children experienced the trauma of leaving their grandparents. It was mid-December, so I bundled her in a slick nylon snowsuit to board the ship for our long journey across the sea. She held the blanket close to her body. I found it quite a challenge to hold onto her in the slippery snowsuit, keep the little blanket off the floor, carry my heavy purse, and keep up with her six year old brother at the same time. She slept with the blanket, dragged it everywhere shipboard. If she missed it, she cried until it was found. By the time we reached our destination, the blanket seemed as important to her as her family. She could not sleep without hugging it closely. I had to take the blanket away from her to wash it. Then it took all my imagination to divert her attention as it churned around in the washer. When I hung it to dry, it was the same old story. She stood beside it sobbing.

We moved several times while the children and I were in Germany for 32 months. One was from temporary quarters in an apartment in town. Next, the move we made, we believed was permanent. It was not. A fire broke out in the building one night, so we had to evacuate it and move in with friends until another apartment was available. All those moves were unsettling. They intensified my little one’s attachment to the blanket. Even after we returned to the states, the blanket was still an important part of her life.

Life would have been simpler if we could have avoided washing the blanket. She slept with her treasure until it fell apart. After that she kept pieces of it in her toy box. Today, a couple of the blanket remnants hang on a hook on a bookshelf in her daddy’s office. (I already knew it) Just today she told me it was there—a loving reminder of a little girl’s security against an ever changing world.