I’ve always been like this. In fact, because I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a mom, I started saving things early on, such as my baby blanket.
My baby blanket and I have had many an adventure together. It was my strapless princess dress, my wedding veil, my turban, my skirt, my cape, my ghost costume, my fort, and well, my blanket. There was never a time I wanted to give away my blankie- I brought it to college including a semester in Mexico. I may have stashed it in a drawer here and there but when I was truly down in the dumps, you can bet I busted it out and used it instead of Kleenex to dry my tears.
My blankie is the color of oatmeal which makes sense because it comforts me on the outside the way a bowl of warm oatmeal does on the inside. The waffle weave fabric is so stretchy, soft and broken in, threadbare in some spots with a few holes here and there. I’m told it was once bright pink with a satin ribbon finish. I can’t remember it ever not looking like oatmeal with unfinished edges.
Throughout my childhood, I had a clear vision of one day handing down my baby blanket to my children. Four babies later, it warms my heart to think that each of them was swaddled in it at one point or another. And now that they’re older, they use it to make forts and ghost costumes, capes, skirts, and turbans, wedding veils and princess dresses. It is even more threadbare and broken in. I’m not sure it will survive their childhood but I have a feeling, when the time is right, I’ll fold it and tuck it away in a drawer for safekeeping and another generation.
The second thing I saved was one of the best gifts I ever received- an annual subscription to Ranger Rick magazine circa the mid-1980′s. I was an avid reader and loved receiving a fresh Ranger Rick straight out of the mailbox. Sometimes my mom would secretly tuck a newly arrived issue away until a day when I proclaimed infinite boredom. She’d hand it over and I’d curl up on the couch and read it from cover to cover. Then I’d make plans to do the crafts and recipes and carefully cut out pictures for school reports, although I only cut what was absolutely necessary.
I had a cardboard box where I kept my magazine stash and sometimes I’d take them all out and organize them by date. Short of keeping each issue in a protective sleeve, I was very proud of my collection, and again, I vividly remember knowing I’d give them to my kids one day.
I didn’t think about Ranger Rick much until I discovered a current issue while visiting the library. “Wow, they still make these?” I thought with giddy anticipation. But as I flipped through its pages, I just didn’t get the same feeling. In fact, I was a little let down. “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to,” I muttered to myself, officially fast-forwarding the aging process.
I remembered that cardboard box sitting in my childhood closet and had my parents bring it on their next visit. My kids took to Ranger Rick immediately, appreciating the color photos of animals and nature, asking me to read them out loud. As I leafed through them myself, the memories flooded back. I learned to wrap presents to look like animals and made one for my grandpa that resembled a cheetah. I made Halloween crafts from brown paper bags and little forest creatures from collected pine needles, acorns, and moss. I learned about composting and endangered animals. Ranger Rick had a great deal to do with my love and respect of nature.
Watching my kids enjoy the exact same pictures, stories and crafts that I did as a kid is so satisfying. I definitely don’t think these Ranger Ricks will make it to the next generation, but that subscription has more than delivered.
Did your parents ever save anything for you? Have you handed something down to your children? Are you tucking something away for another generation?