Keepsakes

When I was a toddler, I had two very favorite items: a teddy bear I called “Kathy”, and a blanket I outgrew in size before kindergarten.

At night, I clung to these items. I remember taking “Kathy” to school, keeping her in my backpack, taking her to summer camp, and even taking her to middle school on one occasion.

My bear and my blanket were old. They were kept clean, but obviously worn and on the receiving end of a lot of love. So, what happened to my childhood treasures.

My blanket was lost first. I still remember its pattern. Fully red one side, the side my mother wrote my name on, and a red and white plaid texture on the side with a rainbow patch in the center. In proving one of the many disadvantages of being the older sibling – and one of my reasons for despising the role – my mom had me give my blanket to my sister for naptime in kindergarten. It was intended to be only for the year. However, anyone who’s ever had a five-year-old can tell you they’re not responsible with things that don’t belong to them.

At the end of the year, my sister left my treasured blanket behind and it was donated. I don’t remember my reaction, but I can’t imagine it was anything less than angry crying, especially because that was the very reason I didn’t want to give my sister my blanket. But “you’re the big sister, you’re supposed to be nice to your sister and set an example”. How about don’t have more than one child if you don’t want to be a role model? My beloved blanket was never replaced. Not that it could be, but she could’ve tried.

As a result of losing my blanket, I clung to “Kathy” more than ever. But sadly, she too was lost and I never learned how.

We moved many times during my childhood. We moved to a new home every year, and to a new city every time I graduated from a school. The last city move was in between school years, which shattered me because I no longer had even that small amount of security. Sadly, this is the move where my loved teddy bear vanished. We had to move all of our belongings to storage for a period of time. I don’t know if Kathy never made it to the storage unit or never made it out, but when we retrieved our things, she was nowhere to be found. Since I was a teenager, I didn’t cry angrily and stomp, but I was heartbroken. On the surface, it’s not a big deal, but it was that one last straw that topped an insurmountable pile of them.

As an adult, I discovered I grew to be somewhat of a hoarder. While I can throw things away, it’s a very difficult task if the item is something I cared about, no matter how long ago. I have no doubt losing my childhood keepsakes planted the seeds for that. It’s not something that affects my daily life, so I see no need for professional intervention, but when I remember my childhood, I still miss my bear and blanket a little. My childhood overall is not one I would repeat, and those treasures were some of the light I had at that time. I have several stuffed toys and bed blankets now, but none of them return the childhood feeling.

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