“Oh great, what now?” I thought, hearing a thud from upstairs.
I had just put the kiddos to bed and sat down in the den with a good book and a better beer. Now one of them was up, and it was only a matter of time until he or she came downstairs. Wonderful.
Just then the door opened and Boogieface walked in. “What’s wrong, baby?” I asked, expecting her to say that either her brother was being too loud or that — big surprise! — she wasn’t tired.
But then she reached out and shocked the you-know-what out of me.
“Here,” she said, holding out her beloved Raggies. “There’s no room in my bed for these anymore. And look—they’re all ripped and falling apart.”
Her Raggies were actually cloth diapers/burp cloths from when she was born. In time they became her nightly companions, without which she couldn’t sleep. There’s probably been a dozen or so times when, during a sleep over at the in-laws’, we’d get a late-night call saying that Boogs had forgotten her Raggies at home, and then I’d have to make the 10-mile trek to deliver the sleep-inducing cloths. She loved those things.
Yet, here she was, handing them over to me as if they meant nothing to her.
I tried to hide my emotion as I sat there holding the tattered, once beloved pieces of cloth. “I’ll take care of them,” I said. “How about we put them downstairs in your memory box?” She smiled and nodded, and then feigned a frown as she bid her nighttime friends adieu forever and went back upstairs to bed.
I sat there, stunned. Devastated. I mean, you never think about things like this until they happen. And when they do, it completely rips your heart out.
I knew this moment was coming months ago when she first showed us her rapidly disintegrating Raggies. Of course, I wasn’t just going to sit by idly and let this integral part of her life just fade into history. So I went online and scoured the Internet, trying to find out where and from whom we had originally purchased these burp cloths eight years earlier. But with no tags and no idea of the manufacturer, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Finally, after a couple weeks of searching (I’m not kidding) I stumbled upon what looked like the same type of cloths on an Etsy page. I couldn’t find the exact same pink leopard and pink-and-green polka dot designs of her original Raggies, but I was able to find some other designs that I hoped — and prayed — she would like just as much.
On Christmas morning, I handed Boogs the wrapped up cloths and hoped for the best. But as she opened the gift, her reaction was lukewarm at best. Oh, well. Maybe it really was time to move on.
But then, a couple of days later, she mentioned to me that she had been sleeping with her new Raggies and that they were starting to get all soft and cuddly, just like her other ones. Success! The Raggie Era and this innocent, oh-so-precious time of my baby girl’s childhood had been extended. At least for a little while longer.
So there I was, sipping a beer and staring at the tattered remains of my daughter’s once beloved Raggies, my heart broken. How could I possibly take them down to that dark, cold basement and leave them there in that lonely plastic bin, not to be seen or thought of again for years? I’m sorry, I can’t. I just can’t.
Maybe I’ll just hang onto them a little while longer. You know, keep them at my desk, where I can see them everyday. Heck, maybe I’ll even sleep with them myself. What? You’ve never seen a grown man sleep with a couple cloth diaper/burp cloths before?
The thing is, I was just sitting there trying drink my beer and enjoy a good book. Leave it to life to come out of nowhere and punch me right in the gut when I least expect it.
At least I have something to wipe away the tears. ~
Copyright © 2016 Valentine J. Brkich