Lost and Found

I crouch down and peer into the dark caverns under the couch. I find a missing ball, plenty of dust bunnies, and 36 cents, but the missing object is not there. I look behind the chair, under the couch cushions, and in the closet. No luck.

It’s getting late. I guess we’ll just have to keep looking tomorrow,” I say with equal parts feigned calmness, defiant irritation, and helpless panic. But we all continue to search.

My husband takes the second floor, looking in bedroom closets, under beds, in dresser drawers, and even in the bathroom garbage can. I take the main floor, searching the toy bins, inside the fridge, and behind the television. Our pajama-clad sons stand by trying to help but largely exacerbating the problem with their pleas, whines, and forlorn faces.

My mind backtracks through the events of the evening. Did we leave it outside? Could it have gotten thrown down the laundry chute? Could one of the kids have put it in the garbage and it is now sitting outside among a festering bag of refuse?

“Any luck?” I call up to my husband. I receive a negative grunt in response.

I tear open the kitchen cabinets. I look in the plants. I scan the backyard. Flushed, angry, and more scared than I care to admit, I stare out the front window. Dammit, where the f— is it? WHERE THE F— IS IT?

Then I see it. Crumpled in a tiny ball of blue and brown, it sits in the far corner of the room, camouflaged against the floor boards and wall paint.

“I found it!” I call victoriously to my husband and sons. My son runs to me with a beaming grin and pulls his beloved Blankie close to him.

“Thanks, Mama,” he says as he snuggles his best buddy.

“You’re welcome,” I respond, tousling his hair. “Now brush your teeth and get into bed.”

The mayhem dies down and the order of our bedtime routine is restored. My son contentedly climbs into bed after saying goodnight to his younger brother.

As my husband and I kiss him goodnight, I say a silent prayer of gratitude that tonight will not be the night that my son is separated from his much-loved Blankie. That tonight will not be a night filled with tears. That tonight will not be the night that my son is forced to say goodbye to his best friend of the past five and a half years. That tonight will be a night of peaceful slumber with dreams of knights and pirates and spaceships and unicorns.

I say a silent prayer of thanks that tonight, while my son falls asleep snuggling his dear Blankie, I can forget that my son is growing up too fast. That tonight I can hold on to childhood for a little bit longer. That tonight the bittersweet passage of time is a little heavier on saccharine innocence than tart reality.

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44 Responses to Lost and Found

  1. Wonderful post. This brought tears to my eyes. We have a 5yo daughter, Olivia, who has a very VERY special lovey, too. It’s a tattered little bunny named Bun-Bun. She has never slept without her. Not one night. My husband and I had a date night one time and Olivia was having a sleep over w/ some friends of ours and their kids. At 11pm we got the text: WHERE THE FUCK IS BUN-BUN??? And at 11pm, my husband drove across town to deliver her.

    • Aww, thank you. I’m glad that someone else is able to appreciate all of the emotions that are wrapped up in those special attachment objects. I think that they are just as much security objects for the parents as they are for the kids. How sweet of your husband to drive Bun-Bun across town. Those things don’t go unnoticed by the kids. Recently when I asked him son how he knew that Daddy loved him, he said, “Because he finds Blankie for me.”

  2. iasoupmama says:

    I remember those days of the blankie. My son had a yellow blankie that he slept with as a toddler. I thought he’d given it up, but found it folded inside his pillowcase the other day.

  3. I was incoherent at age 4 when I left my stuffed dog, Sparky, on a New York City bus. 49 years later I’m incoherent because I can’t find where I left my sunglasses. Some things just never change.

  4. jwilliams057 says:

    Before I had kids I had hoped mine would have a lovie. Now that I have children I’m so glad that they don’t. This panic is something I do not want to have to live through.

  5. Carrie says:

    Last night as I was rocking the baby to sleep my four year old started to call out desperately “Blankie! Blankie! Where are you?” I told him I’d find it when I was done (it was in the laundry) by the time I got the baby to bed he was asleep without his friend but tonight I will ensure that he has his beloved blankie. Great post.

  6. Cat Poland says:

    Oh, I loved this! So glad it had a happy ending. My girl carries her “Jessie the Cowgirl” with her everywhere, and she would be lost without her. Well written!

    • Sadly, we temporarily lose Blankie in the house on a regular basis. We did leave it at a gas station once but we quickly went back and they were waiting at the door for us holding the blankie.

  7. Kenja Purkey says:

    We don’t have a lovey yet, but I’m just waiting for the day. Oh goodie, something else for me to try to keep up with. 🙂 I’m glad you found the blankie!

    • It is definitely a love-hate relationship. It really makes bedtime so much easier, especially when we are on vacation or in a new place, but whenever it gets “lost,” it is panic time.

  8. I love this post. It brings back memories of my son’s stuffed Humpty-Dumpty. We had a backup, but he knew the difference. He called it Lumpty, but would sleep with it in a pinch. He is 13 now. Both Humpty and Lumpty are still tucked in his underwear drawer. He may not sleep with them, but he likes to keep them nearby.

    Your writing is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you so much. We also bought a replacement, but by that point the soft chenille blanket had been worn in just enough that the replacement would not do. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), that replacement has not become the DiDi for my younger son.

  9. mamarific says:

    Oh, I love this. I spent hours, days & weeks combing the internet & ebay looking for a backup lovey for my son, because I dreaded a night such as this. I just found one a few weeks ago…whew! So glad you found it. You captured the moment so well.

    • Oh, you have no idea how often this happens.Shortly after it became clear that my son was incredibly attached to his Blankie, we bought a backup but by that time it was too late. The original was worn in enough that the new one just wouldn’t do. The replacement is now my younger son’s “DiDi.” And the cycle starts again 😉

  10. momfog says:

    Very sweet post. None of my kids had a blankie, which kind of bums me out but is also a relief. Linus is my favorite Peanuts character. Love what he does with that blanket. 🙂

  11. So sweet. With my daughter it was a favorite doll. It is truly harrowing when you think the item cannot be found/replaced/repaired.

  12. Pish Posh says:

    Oh Blankie! sometimes I can’t tell if it is frightening or beautiful how attached we get to the imaginary world of fabrics and stuffed animals and things. As adults, the blankie becomes our phone. Don’t we freak out the same when we misplace our phone?

  13. kianwi says:

    I had my ‘blue baby’ as a child and the most difficult times were when she had to go in the washing machine. I always worried that I would never see her again. My parents would have had a sleepless night for sure, had that happened!

  14. I really love the contrast of “saccharine innocence than tart reality”

  15. Lovely! My daughters both have dolls they must sleep with. Whenever my kids wake up in the middle of the night and sleep walk to our room, they always bring their lovies with them! Nicely done!

  16. christina says:

    ooooh SO glad you found his blankie. love.

    • Thanks. Sadly, it goes “missing” more often than I would like. We rarely let it out of the house so we know its here somewhere but the stress of finding it is still so frustrating.

  17. Emma says:

    Not the blankie! Never lose the blankie!!! I still have one of my blankies packed nice and neat in a box in the attic. Just knowing it’s there brings me warmth! Don’t ask how old I am. It’s embarrassing. 😉

  18. deb says:

    oh, i remember these sweet days. i will not tell you how old my son (now 15) was when we carefully folded up blankie and put “him” away for good. and then there’s the bear: my son has never said anything about it, but i’ve noticed that no matter how messy the room, no matter how much stuff ends up on the floor, there’s this little stuffed bear that always ends up propped against the head board, just hanging out–perhaps keeping watch. i guess they stay little boys a lot longer than we think.

    • Oh, that’s so sweet. My son is almost 6 now and he still sucks his thumb – but only when he has blankie. I have lots of friends (and I’ve certainly heard the “experts” opinions) who think that he should stop sucking his thumb too but there is something so sweet and innocent about it. I am reluctant to move past this phase quicker than need be.

  19. Oh, thank goodness you found it!! It’s heartbreaking when they can’t find a beloved stuffy or lovey or blankie or what-have-you! Loved the tension in the piece. I was getting worried there and I felt the triumph when you found it!

  20. mamamzungu says:

    “I say with equal parts feigned calmness, defiant irritation, and helpless panic.” YES! This is EXACTLY my response whenever my little one has a full on meltdown losing something. Why can’t they be reasonable!?!? Someone once told me that if you want to give your child a lovey, buy 2, because they will lose it and it won’t be pretty. Actually, mine never attached to a lovey, but I still think it’s solid advice.

    • Oh yes, we bought the replacement blankie as soon as we realized our son was attached. Unfortunately, no good. One one Blankie will do. That replacement blankie has now become my younger sons “DiDi” though so I guess the cycle starts again.

  21. dberonilla says:

    It’s funny that during your frantic descriptions at the beginning I thought to myself that you must be looking for something of your kids! Haha, parents know how terrible that feels!
    Great story!

  22. thereedster says:

    Yes, we’ve been there – the blankie, the special “guy.” I need an extra suitcase to pack all the special items. But I think, when they don’t need them anymore, it will make me a little sad…

  23. Rachelle says:

    I LOVE, love, love the way this reads so actively… I’m right there with you. I always thought my kids would have lovies of some sort, but they just never latched on. Probably a good thing, as I’ve heard the horror stories of those left while traveling and the many sleepless nights thereafter.

  24. MommyRachelle says:

    I LOVE, love, love the way this reads so actively… I\’m right there with you. I always thought my kids would have lovies of some sort, but they just never latched on. Probably a good thing, as I\’ve heard the horror stories of those left while traveling and the many sleepless nights thereafter.

  25. aquastarfish says:

    I had a blankie up until I was 28, lol. I did not rely on it for security anymore obviously (well, maybe a little, lol), but it was very special to me. It finally was lost in one of our many Army moves, I was so crushed. My house burned down when I was 13 years old and we were allowed to rummage through the mess of it and I went straight to where my bed was (or used to be) and found my blankie intact, under all the window glass the firefighters had broken to to get smoke out. It was one of the only things I had left. Geez, I just made myself sad and miss that blanket much more.

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