The yellow-haired child goes to bed with all her earthly possessions. When she wakes up, she hands them to me one at a time, and then hands herself to me. I carry her downstairs. Of all her possessions, her greatest is her red-white-and-blue Raggedy Ann and Andy blanket. It doesn't get washed enough, but even so the stiffness is splotchy. For the most part, it's soft. She holds her blankey against her nose to smell it - I imagine it's olfactory nirvana for her. It is the one possession that we do not make her share.
I'm sure some of you know the reasons why children have special blankets, suck their thumbs, or have imaginary friends. I don't - other than children have felt needs. The blankey reminds me that I'm dealing with a little one. And that's enough. Little ones need things and little ones need people. They're too young to be dishonest about their need and they are not savvy enough to hide their need. I respect that.
There comes a day, however, when we must discard our blankeys. The blankey gets burned or taken out with the garbage or hidden away in a box as memento. But the need remains.
O how empty and lonely and insufficient I sometimes feel - needy without recourse. A blankey no longer suffices; it never did suffice, really. I am naked and cold and no one knows. I grab for things to cover me: Fig leaves are out of the question. Animal skins are too scratchy. Blue jeans and T-shirts seem to work well. Food is better. A respectful job is better yet. A nice house, nice cars, a nice portfolio - I imagine those can certainly only help.
It's morning and I hear familiar footsteps and I feel so naked and poor and needy. Should I hide? If only there were a place to hide. I do my best to hide. But still he approaches.
"Why are you hiding?" he says.
"Because I'm naked," I say.
And he laughs. (His laughter is warm and rich and comforting.) "Who told you you were naked?" he says, "How ridiculous!"