Thursday, March 7, 2013
One of the items on the supply list for kindergarten for each of my kids was "nap mat." In one of the many conversations a good friend and I had about kindergarten the summer before our first-borns headed off to school, she mentioned that she was going to make her son a thick blanket-like nap mat, using fabric from Jo-Ann's and fluffy polyester batting. I loved this idea and decided to use Ben's bandanas to make his nap mat. I did the same thing for my other two children, choosing brightly colored dolphin fabric for my science- and nature-loving middle child and for my youngest, cheerful cotton fabric that featured cute little faces of kids, many of whom had blonde curly hair just like Em's. In the fourteen years since my youngest finished kindergarten, the blankets have been folded and stacked in the corner of our piano room. Our house is big and old and drafty, and the kindergarten blankets became couch blankets for watching TV and floor blankets for our old dog who loved a bit of extra warmth and comfort. Ben's bandana blanket has grown frail with age, so I've tucked it away for safe keeping, but we still use the other two, all these years later. And every time I pull one out, I think back to those kindergarten days and what a leap of faith it was to send my children out into the world for the first time. I hoped that when they unrolled their nap mats on days they were feeling sad or tired, they'd be cheered, warmed, and comforted. I hoped in some subtle way, they would be reminded there was someone at home who loved them and was waiting for them to return at the end of the day. And now that my children are grown and out in a much bigger world, it's an even bigger leap of faith to let go and watch them live their lives. They no longer have time to nap or soft little blankets to stretch out on, but still I hope on days they are feeling sad or sick or worried, they know there is someone at home who loves them and is always waiting for the next time they come home.