See this holey (holy!) mess of a baby blanket, which son-in-law, Noel, and my grandson, Primo, are holding. A woman named Ducky, with whom I worked 34 years ago, crocheted it for the baby I was about to have. We used it for Colby, until Simone was born, 32 months later, and then it became hers. Simone has carried it with her, literally and figuratively, throughout her life. She took it away to college. She took it on vacations near and far. She’s moved it with her from apartment to apartment. She sleeps with it every night. It’s made of inexpensive yarn, it’s gray and ragged, but it remains one of Simone’s prized possessions.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that the only real security we get comes from within.
I’m not sure what the blanket represents to Simone, but it got me thinking about all the interesting attachments I’ve had to things, ideas and people during my life. I guess you’d have to call them my “security blankets,” or, perhaps, addictions. Let’s see: Worrying was my best friend when I was growing up. I worried incessantly, about whether my father was going to stop breathing in his sleep, if Neil Maltz liked me in 8th grade and if I’d be able to finish all my algebra homework. I thought that if I didn’t worry, nothing would work out. I became an addicted smoker. I was convinced that I’d never be able to compose a cogent sentence if I couldn’t puff while I wrote. I was certain I’d die without Edgar because I thought he made me happier than any man before him.
I’ve learned worrying accomplished nothing at all; smoking fogged my brain (not to mention filled my lungs with gook) and that Edgar didn’t make me happy (although sex with him sure did). He actually made me more miserable than I’d ever been. The most important thing I’ve learned is that the only real security we get comes from within.
No one and no thing can give it to us. It doesn’t really matter if Simone sleeps with her ratty blanket until she’s 90, as long as it’s just a little pile of disintegrating acrylic.