Losing things that you’re emotionally attached to.

farewell blanket, farewell

Henry’s blanket was lost in March.

I came home from my first away weekend and while the boys had a great time together, there was a casualty. A baby blanket my good friend gave me was lost somewhere between our home and the ferry terminal. It’s been our stroller/play/travel blanket since Henry turned one.

For a few weeks I held out hope that it would be found. I went into shops along the route and asked if anyone had brought it in with no luck. I thought there was a good chance someone had found it and would contact us. Our last name is on the blanket and it’s not a common one.

But it’s gone. For good.

I was initially quite sad about losing the blanket. It’s been such a mainstay of our travels and Henry’s toddlerhood. I love that it was handmade, I love that it is from a friend and that it reminds me of her.

Yes, this aspiring minimalist feels some attachment to a thing.

Then I realized that one of the reasons I was sad is that my son is growing up. Losing the blanket was compounded with the realization that we are using the stroller less and less. No booster seat at the table. We’re even using our one and only bib less frequently.

When I thought about getting a replacement blanket I knew we probably didn’t need one. The weather is getting milder and by next fall Henry will be out of the stroller for good.

My son’s toddlerhood is slipping away. He’s growing up.

The blanket was a symbol of certain age of his life and I attach a lot of good memories to it.

So, I’m trying to relive a few of those memories lately. Looking through older photos, reminisceing with my husband and savouring the memories of Henry’s babyhood.

I still have a pang about losing the blanket but I’ve realized it’s not all about the blanket – it’s about what the blanket represented to me.

Have you lost anything that represented a certain time or right of passage in your life? How did you deal with losing it?

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  • I’ve lost many things over the years that represented certain times and rights of passage, but I never let it get to me to much. When I notice it’s gone I usually say Oh it’s gone, oh well part of life. Growing up my Mom would always tell us things disappearing was just part of military moving, the movers always lost something. Sometimes you were the lucky person to lose something, but in a family of 9 it wasn’t always you.

  • Back in 1995 I lost all my clothes and a lot of my little belongings on the ferry during a move. I was absolutely devastated at the time. But looking back, it is only two item of clothing that I even remember of what I had; and even though I will always have great memories of them, I would not use them any more anyway. …at least I cannot lose the memories. (well, hopefully not :))

  • I had a recent incident. I had a soft-structured baby carrier that my youngest son spent most of his babyhood in… he was always in my “kangaroo pouch” til he was about 18 months old. After thousands of uses, I passed it on to a relative who had a baby, and after one use, it was slammed in a car door and the clips were smashed. I spent weeks and weeks looking for replacement clips to repair it, even though my boy’s too big to fit in it anymore, and my relative has since bought her own new one. I stepped back and realized I’m mourning the past; that he’s no longer a tiny thing that depends on me as much. Luckily, I have ONE picture of him in it, and I framed that. (I was thinking of making a pillow out of the fabric of the tattered carrier too, just so it can still be useful somehow)

  • Well, we are now in a situation of having lost everything. There is a severe mold problem in our apartment and we react to the stuff as well. Like, even after washing clothes they made me vomit. There is no question anymore that we can’t keep anything. (We have already moved out and are living at my dad’s house temporarily.) Maybe a few things we could put into storage and wait a few years and then see if we could tolerate them.
    I’ve also lost things before, like antique jewelry my grandmother gave me.. It’s tough, but in the end, it is only material. The memories are not gone, the love is not gone.

    • I wanted to extend my condolences to you, I read in your blog how you have lost everything to mold and you seem to be handling it so well but I am sure it is hard nonetheless. Sending you healing thoughts while you recover and best wishes for a fresh start!

    • Me too! I am sorry for your loss to mold. Probably not as emotionally painful as losing something from your grandmother, but probably financially painful; they are qualitatively different hills to climb!

  • This blog was shared with me by my aunt Pauline :). It came to me at a great time, I needed this reminder! Thank you!

  • A couple of years ago I lost my favorite pair of earrings. My only, beloved, silver hoops. I haven’t worn earrings since. Nothing else seems to fit me. Last week I started talking about searching for a replacement pair. I’ll have to be very selective because not much else can compare. They were handmade by a local (to me at the time) artist. We have since moved and lost contact so there is no hope of buying from the same source, sigh.

  • We lost Thomas’ only comfort item, his softie bunny, at the farmer’s market in Kelowna when we were on a summer vacation. Thank goodness for the internet, because I was able to find a replacement! If it had been anything else of the kids things I wouldn’t have thought twice about replacing it, but because it was the ONE THING that comforted him, I had to go for it. So sorry you lost Henry’s blanket, it was a beauty (judging from the photo) – thankfully you have that great photo of him using it!

  • I once lost a small pin that was given to me by a friend’s mother. She was Swiss, had returned home for something or other and brought back this little eidleweiss pin to represent the Alps of her homeland. I had it forever and lost it one day walking across my college campus. I have no idea if there was much monetary value (I suspect not), but it was a huge emotional loss because she had been the mother I never had. But I consoled myself with the thought that inevitably, someone found that pin and I hoped/believed, it brought them joy on an otherwise sad day. And every time I lose something, I think of the finder and it makes me very happy!

  • I knew a Chris Jonat who lived in the Coquitlam area…a teenager in the 80’s…any relation? :)
    He has an older sister named Carolyn…

    At least you have photos of the blanket for the memory of it :)

      • I thought after I wrote…that would be really funny if you were married to him!! wow small world :)
        Tell him my cousin’s are the Dawes’…he will know them. My maiden name was Burden.
        I dont know if he would remember me…

          • I just remembered to come back here to check if you replied…
            funny small world the internet has made it so…I found your blog via pinterest
            Did you know Loreal is expecting Twins!! #8 and #9
            I moved to the States about 11 years ago so I dont get to see all the cousins very often…but my dad keeps me up to date on all the latest family news…Mrs. Dawes is his sister :)

  • I am reading both of your books and writing a review for my giveaway coming up at the end of the month. I LOVE them! :) I am in love with minimalism. Your writing is awesome and am really enjoying your books! :) Everyone NEEDS to get these books! Erin

  • I lost my high school yearbook, and on some level it still really bums me out. I dealt with it by joining FaceBook and reconnecting with a bunch of people from that time… But then, I remembered why I was so miserable in high school, and after the umpteenth political spat with someone who I never liked, even then (and a few rather disconcerting “privacy issues”) I gave FB the boot and haven’t looked back since. Sorta made me realize that there’s a reason that most of the people from my past didn’t make it into my present!

    But… a while back I was going through boxes in the basement doing yet ANOTHER purge. I opened one that hadn’t seen the light of day for many, MANY years. Inside, nestled among a bunch of meaningless junk was a little squeaky toy that belonged to my childhood dog. I sat there and cried, and cried and cried.

    The squeaky toy now has a special place in my “treasures” drawer, and the rest of the junk went away.

  • Many years ago, we lost our wedding video. A relative borrowed it and accidentally recorded over it. Since we got married in a private ceremony in Hawaii, it was the only copy.
    Once we realized it was gone, I was pretty upset but have gotten over it. I still have the love of my life so I’m happy.

    Also, I’ve sometimes found it hard to donate certain items that belonged to my boys, but I have memories of them in the clothes or playing with the toys… And I have my boys, so I can say that it gets easier with time.

  • I feel for you Rachel I really do. I’ve been in exactly the same position. In fact only today I relayed my story to a friend (before I read this post). She’d handed in a Silver Tiffany bracelet at the local school that she’d found on the path. The person who was reunited with it was so pleased, it had been a wedding gift off her husband and she thought it gone forever.
    Last May we lost ‘Barry Blanket’, Dan had always had him (hand-made crocheted hand-me-down from Big Sis who’d never got attached to it) . We lost ‘Barry’ in town, somewhere. I ran around town twice with the buggy, almost in tears. Went in every place we’d been in at least twice, and the phoned the town centre management and they checked the bins for me overnight. I was devastated! I even considered contacting local press and asking them to run a missing blankie story. I wouldn’t mind but’Barry’ was old, torn and holey. Who’d pick him up and keep him? I felt as though I’d left a puppy in town, and was thinking about the blanket being cold and lonely. Then I got a grip and realised what a total over-reaction! Dan was slightly bothered, but not majorly, and he had a blankie donated from his Auntie that was similar. We still have that one! It’s not allowed out the house 😉 Yes even aspiring minimalists get emotionally attached to stuff!

  • fantastic timing, to have a friend forward me your blog. we are in the process of downsizing, possibly to a house half the size of where we currently are. we have 3 kids with one on the way, & my husband runs his business out of our garage. oh, & we homeschool. all these things necessitate (or so we thought!) a lot of stuff. now, as i keep purging, my kids (along with my husband & i!) are feeling freer & freer. it’s astounding to watch my kiddos by-pass the few toys we have out for their own creative games. the problem i’d run up against, & in which this particular post helped me so much, was certainly with letting go of my children’s things from their babyhood & littlehoods. sentimental + minimalism = stuck. BUT. i’m armed with some new self-awareness now.
    thank you.

  • Oh, we lost a handmade-gift baby blanket too, my daughter’s favorite. I still think of it with a small pang. Much worse: I lost my wedding ring, and not only that, it was made of my grandfather’s ring and my husband’s grandmother’s ring, melted down and… oh god, I still feel so bad sometimes about it. But I’m chucking stuff right and left these days. I’m selling at least 9 whole boxes of books (some brand new and unread, and even some kids’ books, which are kind of sacred to me) in our neighborhood garage sale soon. Feels GREAT and I can’t WAIT to have the pile gone. I dream that someday I’ll find the ring in some corner when I’ve totally decluttered. But as my mom always said, and I’m so thankful she did: “It’s just a thing.”

  • Before we had our son I worked as a manager at Anthropologie. As you can imagine, I accumulated quite the wardrobe. After our son was born, I gave my sister most of it, donated a lot…anything that I didn’t want stained, anything I couldn’t sit on the floor or nurse in, I got rid of. Except my fancy dresses. I held onto those. I liked to look at them in my closet and dream about wearing them again. Then we moved and lost the box they were in. All of them, gone. I’m still mourning them – they were my last link to my life before motherhood.

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