Today I did an odd thing. And I'm not sure why.
My neighbour was over with her 6-month old daughter this afternoon, and when baby J got a little fussified I volunteered to get a blanket to put on the floor so she could lay about and do her baby thing there for a while (since she'd abruptly stopped enjoying being held).
I ran upstairs to the room that once belonged to my little boy and pulled a cozy blanket from the top shelf of the closet. It was, of course, Thomas' blanket. It's been in that closet since the day I received it from a very sweet friend who made it for my Peanut and sent it up to us before he was born.
It's a soft, two-sided fleece blanket with moon and stars and big fluffy clouds on one side and plain white on the other. My friend's handwritten note was still pinned to it with instructions on how to wash it - and how to use it to cuddle up with my Peanut.
I froze for a moment, then unpinned the note and headed back downstairs.
I fought with myself all the way down. Don't use it. Use it. Don't use it. Use it. Don't use it. Use it.
Finally logic prevailed. Thomas is never going to use the blankie, so why not lend it to the little girl next door for a few minutes. What harm could it do? Other than break my heart just a tiny bit, of course.
I paused on the last step before rounding the corner, clutching the blanket to my chest for dear life. Do or die. Round the corner and it's all over - baby J's mom will see the blanket and I won't be able to explain my sudden decision to use a sheet instead. If she sees it and me holding it, it's going on the floor and a real live baby will actually use it.
A baby that's not my own.
I turned the corner, spread the blanket on the floor and smiled and cooed at baby J.
It felt good and horrendous all at the same time. Kind of like that brief feeling of relief you have between stubbing your toe and actually feeling the pain.
I've thought about that blanket a lot. Often when I'm in the closet rummaging around for something else I'll reach up and touch it, thinking about what might have been. I don't have any idea why today I finally got it out and used it.
But somehow I think it was a good thing.