Tomorrow is the big day.
The treasured blanket has been found (in the top drawer of the kids' computer desk, of all places). It has been laundered, folded and gently put aside. Tomorrow, it will go in his Special Box. The same box that holds his tiny shoes, his baptism cross, the newspaper from the day he was born and an assortment of other milestone remembrances.
It's been nearly five years in the making and the time has come to bid farewell to his most favored of comforters. The once plush baby blue blanket has thinned and worn holes. It has turned a dusky gray with its frayed edges and chewed corners. It has been a hero's cape, a turban and a wrap. Most often, it has been a source of warmth and comfort and his best friend.
He asked me several times today if he could have it back once it was clean, then remembered that he didn't need it anymore. But I'm sad to see it go. Somehow I felt that as long as he had it, he was still my little guy. The one who needed an extra ounce (for that's all it weighs anymore) of security. With the blanket he was my quiet little boy who could be calmed just by touching the fragile piece of cloth. But who am I kidding, he hasn't been a calm, shy, insecure boy in a long while. It's been painfully obvious how he's been growing out of the blanket phase simply by how often he misplaces it. I'm certain it has phased me more than him. I spent evenings looking for it while he slept peacefully on. I spent days looking, for my own reassurance more than his.
It's time for me to break the blanket ties for both of us and accept that Nicholas is becoming secure with himself. It's time for mom to let him go a little more.
He looked at me over dinner and did have one final request though. He asked if he could be the one to put it into his box tomorrow.
Absolutely, Nicholas. Just don't be surprised if mom sheds a little tear for the big kid you're becoming and the part of the little boy you're leaving behind.