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The pain and comfort of a blanket

December 26th. A great day. A day where kids are hopefully busy, occupied with new toys and activities from the day before.

That was my day today. It was easy.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever called any day in my entire life “easy”. But today was as close as it gets to that.

It was gentle and loving and…as stress free as my life has the potential to be.

We built a terrarium. We played with slime. We played with Thomas and train tracks and stickers and my younger son spent countless hours in “his kitchen” cooking.

I didn’t have to occupy them. They were both playing so well on their own without conflict or need from me.

I didn’t have to, but I wanted to.

I usually see the “easy” days as a day to escape. To check out and disengage.

Yesterday, Christmas, was great too. Not easy by a “normal” persons standards….but easier than our typical days.

But…sometimes in the quiet, in the peace, in the ease…loss speaks louder. Those absent become overwhelmingly noticeable.

Suddenly, I have to room to miss him, the space to acknowledge his abundant lack of presence.

The box in my bathroom screaming at me in uncertainty.

A box that held a world of emotion and pain, yet somehow, with the opportunity for healing and togetherness…all wrapped in one confusing package.

It wouldn’t mean much to you, it wouldn’t mean much to most people. But the most simple text…

“We sent you a box. The boys picked these blankets because they have the same ones.”

My far away son, or at least his parents, sent my boys a box in response to our gifts to them. I told them blankets, and that’s what they sent.

But I didn’t expect the baggage to be so heavy…to hold an actual part of the one I miss the most.

Two brothers sending a simple gift of blankets to two brothers. 3 of them my sons.

I didn’t want to give this to my kids. I’m not going to lie. It was a part of my son that I needed. That I wanted. My 5 year old would appreciate this gift almost as much as I would, but not my 3 year old. Not yet, anyway.

I spent the entire day battling between the most selfish and logical parts of myself.

5 minutes before bedtime, I bring out the box. The last gift. I explain it to my kids, and my 5 year old is elated. He picked his blanket out of the 2. My 3 year old was interested and happy. He picked the second one.

But then he walked away…

And I kept it.

It’s still his blanket. It’s his gift from his brother.

But for now…until he needs it…it’s mine to hold.

It’s the only physical connection I have with him.

My 5 year old understands the meaning. I told him how special it was.

This morning he told me that he slept so great because he felt so loved by his brother because of the blanket. He felt loved and cared about by that one, and the one I also got him yesterday.

To have something to actually hold, given to you by the person you love and miss more than anything…it’s powerful.

It’s a gift I’m sure they thought nothing of. He asked what my boys would like, and I told them blankets. We’re a family of cozy.

But it sure does take on a life of its own knowing that my son has the same one.

I can’t hold him. My son can’t hug his big brother.

But we now have something that means something to him.

And that…means everything to me. It’s the closest that I’ve felt to him in a while.

I’m glad my son had this gift. He has the kind of heart that this gift speaks the most to. And if you ask him in 5 years, I bet he’ll tell you it was his favorite gift. And I bet it’ll still be on his bed.

Just like mine would be.

His love in the form of a blanket has quickly become my most treasured and protected possession. I don’t want to touch it, but I don’t want to let it go.

I just wish I had him, instead.

((I miss you always, but today I miss you extra.)) And today, I hold you just a tiny bit closer. I love you always.

Merry Christmas, son.

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