"This is possibly the ugliest blanket in the whole world." I said it this morning while the kids were having breakfast. Zeca said, "I like that blanket." Miguel agreed and added, "It's not that ugly." But, it really is. It is the color of a dirty band-aid and it has pills and I know it is made of suspicious materials. I would never have chosen such a blanket. I prefer quality - a beautiful design and more natural fibers. Yet, the blanket has been on the couch these past few days as the temperatures outside have hovered significantly below zero. I spent yesterday on the couch, the blanket draped over my legs, while I worked.
I hate that blanket.
We inherited it when my mother and stepfather packed up my mother's china and brought it up to us from Kansas City. They used that blanket to cushion the boxes in the trunk of their car. The blanket is soft and squishy and I'm sure it made good padding. After the china had arrived safely, I folded the blanket and handed it to my mother to take home but she said she didn't want it, "You can just keep it. I don't need it." My mother never kept anything she didn't need and I suspect she wanted to pawn it off on me.
So, I keep it. I wrap myself in it on the couch and even use it as the warm blanket when we make a bed for guests. Each time I want to say, "This isn't mine but it's warm." I don't, though. I've now had the blanket for years so it is mine now, ours.
This morning, as the kids sipped glasses of milk, I sat on the couch and ran my hands over the cheap material and said, "It belonged to Nana." I explained how it ended up in our house. Miguel said, "I still remember when we got the news that Nana died. We were in Portugal and I cried and I remember looking out the window and seeing the orange-colored house on the street." I waited for there to be more to that story but there wasn't. It was a glimpse into his mind at seven. Zeca doesn't remember anything. We spent a few minutes exchanging memories of my mother before the kids left the table to get ready for school.
I've always thought of it as "the ugly blanket" but, today, my kids began to think of it as "Nana's blanket."
So, now, I will dwell in contradiction, hating and loving an old blanket. I will wrap myself in the tangible past and maybe next time someone looks at it with a questioning look, I'll say, "It's mine. Let me tell you a story…"