For years I kept his baby blanket in the bottom right-hand drawer of my dresser. It was one of the last ones he used at the hospital. Yep, I stole it. It was one of those waffle-like baby blankets – blue of course. (Do they still use the same kind today, I wonder?) It had his smell on it. I’d pull it out, along with the pictures and updates I had, and I’d lay my head in it and cry. Countless hours were spent this way. Countless.
That blanket is now wrapped up with all the other small keepsakes I have of his infancy and early childhood. I have pictures: from the hospital, from right after placement, family Christmas photos, vacations, parties. I have beautifully handwritten updates about his life and his family. I have his plastic hospital identification bracelet, the one with the name I gave him on it: I knew he’d get a new name, but I couldn’t let him go nameless for 21 days, that seemed wrong.
So the sum of my connection with my son during his childhood is all wrapped up and carefully stored back in my home state. It’s all in a bin, taped up to protect it from mice and other dangers of time. If I had it here I’d pull it out, lay my head in the blanket… and cry.