Every mother keeps mementos of their children’s childhood. These things offer tangible proof that this now very grown being before you began life cradled in your body under your heart and the memories surrounding these objects wield palpable emotion. Tara’s woobie…For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means blanket. This blanket was a yellow fluff of complete softness encircled with yellow satin hand stitched with love. This gift was proffered by my mother’s friend, Emily Tetrault, whom we did not see often and now offers her hearty rich laugh to the delight of the angels having left this old world many years ago. I know that Emily, not really a frequent guest in my daughters life, had no clue of the importance this blanket was to play in the life of its recipient.
My daughter was enchanted with the blanket from the moment her soft pink fingers sought their first tentative grazings over its soft surface. This was a keeper her non-verbal self said as she quickly grabbed hold of it and went to sleep.
This yellow square soldiered on with my girl as she became a toddler and moved into middle school- always a constant presence. Middle school offered the usual complaints of friendships gone awry, just yesterday vital and now some small spat morphs into a complex blame game of who said what to whom and hurt their feelings. Everyone with a girl in middle school knows the drill. Still, the woobie persevered offering the consolation of its soft presence without a voice.
Woobie could be counted on to help even with the pain of physical injury -clung to with the tenacity and strength reserved only for life boats during one of those sinking ship stories. Once, having stepped on a rather large piece of glass on our pool deck my daughter was perfectly willing to submit to having this foreign object removed and the wound cleaned by her own personal nurse, her Mom, but first, Woobs would have to be brought to the operative theater (AKA-our bathroom.) Frankly, that day, I could have used Woobs myself but watching the courage, acceptance and steel resolve frame my child’s eyes as she held it burying her face in it, I simply proceeded with the unpleasant task wishing I had a woobie of my own.
High school began and with it came puppy love, test stress & the ever encroaching future etc. Having already witnessed an entire childhood, a bit more faded, a bit tattered from the love it had rendered and received and washed with less frequency as each washing might prove its undoing- woobie still remained in the room silent, present, accepting comforting and cherished.
Recently, my friend of a lifetime’s daughter died unexpectedly and very young. Never lost for words, I found they wouldn’t come. Nothing seemed right, every syllable insufficient and too pale for the job. I called her one day and she was engaged in putting away some of her daughters belongings. Seeing them about the first thing every morning proved a task that was too rough and raw for grief so complete and new. She began talking about her daughter’s doll collection and then moved on to the her daughter’s blanket. I had to stop myself from saying….”Don’t put it away. It might prove a silent, steadfast friend when words won’t change anything and can be wrong no matter how well intentioned they are meant and you just need comfort.”
Happy Birthday Tara! May woobie and all of her kind live long and prosper in the hearts of children and adults alike.
Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast