He is soft. He is faded. He smells like the boy who loves him.

He is Favorite.

This morning I found my son sleeping with his little sis in the big Sis’s loft. I crept up there quietly to rub backs and steal kisses and wake them for the day, and as I approached my son I saw him sleepily run his arm around the small space that surrounded him. For a split second I had a feeling in my gut that I am sure he also felt; it was a yearning for a thing that was not with him, something that by now is part of him. His blanket he calls Favorite. I associate my son’s rest time with this blanket as much as he does. When he is without, I can feel his void because visually I can see that something is wrong with the picture. It would be like if my husband came downstairs ready for work, sans pants.

I realized today he will be turning ten in a matter of weeks and Favorite’s days are probably numbered. That means the sleepy bundle
that comes to me morning and night for hugs and kisses will one day exclude the part that makes my heart melt: the blanket wrapped around his neck (think Rocky with the towel) that tells me that my son is in a relaxed mood. When he is not tired or when he is over-tired, he does not seek Favorite. But when he has decided for himself he would like a little “me” time, or after school when he hits his spot on the couch, or when it’s family movie night or a little past bedtime, you will most usualy find the blanket and the boy intertwined in heavenly bliss. There was once a scalloped edge all the way around this blanket that no longer exists. Slowly over the years, each of the tiny half-circle loops of yarn have been torn loose until not one trace of this (hand-made by nana) detail remains. My son liked to weave each of his toes, all ten, through this edging to feel the sensory experience of the tension it created when he pulled it taught. I would have to check first thing in the morning after often times finding purple toes sticking out because he cut off his own circulation! Eventually the threadbare edging slowly gave and can lo longer be seen.

I have a cousin about my age whom I grew up with close as a twin brother. We were peas in a pod all our childhood, but this special bond between us included his Softy. Softy was like Favorite, and I was always a little jealous of him. It was the only thing my cousin appeared to love more than me (his mom and I were equal). When we had sleepovers, Softy was there. When we went to grandma’s, Softy was there. When we would be hanging out playing Monopoly or Moustrap, Softy tagged along.

Eventually we turned ten but as I recall, Softy wasn’t going anywhere soon. At least not as far as I could tell. By eleven still Softy was part of the backdrop somewhere in his room. But something triggered today in rememberance of Old Softy. I might have been the only one who actually knew Softy out of all my cousin’s friends. Because it was a special, personal and private part of his life that does not go on to middle school with a boy, not in view of anyone his own age at least. Unless you are his Favortie cousin. I was. I was his Favorite along with Softy. He shared his love of Softy with me because he loved that thing so much, and he loved me too, and what better celebration of love than when you can have all the things you love together at one time. Your mom, your Softy and your favorite cousin.

That’s what I realized about my boy today. I’m not sure if Favorite will ever dissapear, not to me anyway. I have a feeling he may even one day hide his blanket from his dad and siblings, but secretly he will enjoy when I wake him and his blanket up as if nothing has changed. As if being ten is no different than being 4, really, not when you love something.

I will always get that about him. I will always respect it, and he knows it. Just a reminder to me that moms are really lucky to hold that place in a child’s heart. It really makes me feel very Favorite.

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