jayellebee's Blog

March 18, 2014

Can’t Win ’em All

Filed under: Musings — Joanne @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , ,

I just received this e-rejection:

BombeckThank you for entering the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. We had a record number of entries this year with 853 from 13 different countries and all but two U.S. states. The essays ranged from funny and self-deprecating to poignant and heart-warming, and our panel of judges had their work cut out for them. Unfortunately, your essay was not chosen. To see a complete list of the winning entries, please visit Library’s website at www.wclibrary.info/erma. Good luck in 2016.

If you remember Erma, click on the link and enjoy the winning entries in this annual contest.  or, you can read my losing entry with no link required.

                                                                                                                                 The Security Blanket

            “Dont be such a worrier,” Mom told me. “Have you ever seen a young man carry his security blanket to the altar?”

            In time, my first two boys did retire their blankies. But not before a valuable lesson had been learned. By me.

           I prepared for the birth of my third son by purchasing a pair of identical baby blankets. There would be no inconsolable sobbing as this child held vigil beside the washer and dryer. No late night trips to Granny’s house to retrieve his over-looked and irreplaceable sleep aid. This time, one of the soft twins would always be clean and at the ready, materializing when needed as if by magic. I was in charge.
            Yeah, right.
            I have three sons because I didn’t want four. God keeps a supply of “special” babies for women like me who don’t know when enough is enough. The final addition to our family was born strong-willed. An individual. If he had come first, he would have been an only.
            From a very tender age, Number Three hauled both blankies around with him. But, having two allowed him to share one. Like the time his great grandmother needed to rest before sitting down to a noisy holiday dinner. My toddler led her to his room, settled her on his bed and smoothed one blanket over her. Only one.
            The first day of kindergarten, he stroked the jumbled mass on the car’s backseat before darting into the classroom without so much as a backwards glance. After three hours, my little scholar emerged from school, rushed past me and buried his face in the folded pile of laundered comfort. He recharged on the way home, ensconced in layers of pilled polyester and frayed satin binding.
            Several years later, my youngster donated one of his blankets to be entombed in the family pet cemetery with a deceased cat. I had nightmares about him exhuming the body to retrieve his precious property, but he toughed it out and the grave remained undisturbed.
            My boy was the one other parents referenced when discussing peer pressure. He was never malicious, but he never much cared what others thought of him, either. As a teen, he jammed on his drum set with his blanket draped over his shoulders. Later, the rag’s remnants matriculated to college.
            My son and his delightful fiancée will be wed in June. I wish Mom had lived long enough to enjoy what promises to be a unique celebration. If she had, she would frisk him before the ceremony, checking for his blankie. After all, there’s a first time for everything.


  1. I loved this post. I remember trying to wean my daughter from her blankie by cutting it in half ever week. When we were down to a 3×4″ piece with a piece of binding hanging off, I asked her for her blankie. She looked at me with her huge brown eyes and I could see the wheels turning in her brain. After about a half a minute, she smiled and ripped off the binding and handed me the blanket rectangle. She would tuck the piece of binding in her pants pocket or backpack to keep it close at hand.

    I haven’t see it in 25+ years so my guess someone saw it and teased her about it. And that was that. But that blankie (we only had one) got dragged through mud, or the pavement where ever she went, even mud puddles, in the lake, etc.

    I hated to engage in this form physical deflation so many years ago for fear that it would cause the same thing in her self confidence. She is now almost 43, and one of the most confident women I know. I am in awe of her.

    Comment by Bee Hylinski - Author and Baseball Fan — March 18, 2014 @ 4:44 pm | Reply

  2. I Loved it too, Joanne!

    One of my now college-age granddaughters had a dog purse. She named the purse “Big Marnie”, and when she needed to talk frankly to her parents, she assumed “Big Marnie’s” high-pitched, English-accented voice! They were inseparable, and I performed many stuffing and zipper surgeries in the dead of night to prolong Big Marnie’s life. Yes, Big Marnie is somewhere in her apartment….

    For another granddaughter, at her mother’s request, I knitted a soft blanket, instead of my usual baby hat and sweater set. My daughter-in-law explained that the “blankie” would last longer. She was right! The tattered remains now are wrapped around the neck of a favorite stuffed animal on her bed. (She’s almost thirteen.) After the first couple of years, my daughter-in-law asked if had any leftover yarn, for a smaller travel version, so I knitted a small car companion.

    Every child has a unique go-to comfort. Wonderful to read about your son, and can’t wait to hear what your future grand kids will be hauling around!


    Comment by Ann Damaschino — March 18, 2014 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

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