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I am 34 years old, and I don’t sleep alone.
No, I’m not talking about my husband. I’m not having an affair, either, and the bed is a strictly pet-free zone. I’m talking about Rosie, my security blanket. Yes, yes, my baby blanket — prenatal, technically, since she was a baby-shower gift from my mother’s best friend.
I’ve seen pictures, but I have no memory of Rosie before she was ripped, dragged, peed on, laundered and cut in half for easy transport. Before her white satin trim fell off and the inside layer of fluff got matted and gray, rubbed incessantly against my upper lip and fingertips. I do recall that my grandmother named Rosie after her own mother and made up the Rosie song:
Rosie, you are my Posie, I love you dirt and aaaaaallllll.
I don’t know why I still sleep with Rosie. The best way to explain it is that Rosie has always been my friend. Her unconditional love rivals even the most loyal of dogs, and she has wiped up more tears than I’d like to count.
When I was very young and my mom forbade me from bringing Rosie someplace very public, I remember whispering to her not to worry, that I’d bring her home a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. (I never did, of course. What do you think I am, crazy?) Rosie has stuck by me — or rather under me, since I stash her beneath my pillow — my whole life. I did leave her behind for my first semester in college and a summer in Europe, and I hid her from boyfriends and a few catty girlfriends, but no night is complete without an armful of blanket wadded up and tucked under my head just so. The smell, the texture, the lump of Rosie is comforting in a way you wouldn’t understand unless you have your own blanket or some other ratty vestige of childhood.
Trust me. I’m not alone. We are among you, the grown-up Linuses. We are your lawyers, your investment bankers; we teach your children.
My friend Heather still has a pillow she calls Petty. Not only does she sleep with it, but she reads with it, watches TV with it, flies on airplanes with it — you get the picture.
Heather and I have a friend from college named Corey who has a small stuffed bear named Mike. Mike is white and is missing both eyes and a nose due to several unfortunate accidents involving a number of family pets. Corey lives on her own now, with Mike, whom she hangs out with when she’s not teaching first grade.
The list goes on. There’s Andy, a Stanford law-school graduate now prosecuting drug cases in New York City. He’s got a blanket named Bluey. Andy tells a tear-jerking tale of being mugged during a college trek through Europe and being forced to sleep in a Parisian gutter, Bluey his only solace and source of warmth.
Growing up with a security blanket, I always got the same question: “Are you going to drag that thing down the aisle?” I’m happy to report that no, I didn’t, although I did tuck a tiny piece of Rosie down my front for good luck.
Now that I am pregnant with my first child, every night is a kaleidoscope of insomnia-fueled apprehensions: Do I put my daughter in day care or leave her with a nanny? How long should I breastfeed? Cloth or disposable diapers? Hot-pink or lavender crib sheets? What about a college fund?
And, of course, there’s the eternal question: Do I give my daughter her very own Rosie? More important, when do I take the blanket away? I roll over and tuck Rosie under my head, and we consider the options.