playing with my grand babies recently, and watching each of them reach for various familiar things when tired or in need of comfort, i was taken back to the days when my three daughters were young. each of them, as well as their friends, had something they relied on to soothe and reassure themselves. it seemed to be a very personal choice and there was no way for the adults to predict or account for these important selections.
in our house, it ran the gamut from a very long, skinny strip of yellow knitting, (meant to be a blanket but ultimately it became something more akin to a giant scarf, as knitting is not my forte), a well-worn puffy checked blanket, (meant to be a welcome home from the hospital gift for my first daughter, but not actually completed until the third was born, as sewing is not my forte either), and of course my middle daughter’s choice – a silky yellow nightgown of mine, (meant to be worn by me, but commandeered by her for this higher purpose).
the options seemed to work well for each of the girls, though the trashy lingerie in the grocery cart situation was a bit awkward at times – (to add to the shock and awe, it became quite filthy over time, as she could not bear to part with it for a wash, and of course it was nowhere near as comforting if i ever did get the rare chance to do so). who am i after all, to mess with someone’s sense of security?
i smile as i remember the choice that my friend’s 2 year old daughter made. after her mother had her long, dark hair cut into a summer-friendly short bob, this lovely young girl lost her security, which had been her curtain of hair, and found her own unique way to regain it. one day soon after the fateful cut, she wandered out of her mother’s room , wearing her black half slip on her head where her long hair had once been. after that, she cried and refused to go in public without her ‘security wig’. even though she resembled a miniature nun, and garnered many odd looks from the unknowing public, she wore it with pride and happiness, and balance was restored to her world once again.
as i now work on a blanket for the latest grand baby soon to be welcomed into our family, (and notice that it has somehow morphed into something resembling a queen-sized comforter, estimate that it will take 6 more feature-length films for me to complete, and note that my sewing prowess has not improved with time), i wonder if she will reach for this behemoth in times of need, or will she leave it piled in the corner while clinging to something i have not even imagined?
dictionary.com attempts to explain it in this way:
It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear . . . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.~ Marilyn Ferguson
“sucking your thumb without a blanket is like eating a cone without ice cream!” – Linus van Pelt
in the end, we each, at all ages and stages of life, search until we find a sense of security in our own places – how else to explain the phenomenon of ‘snuggies?’