Friday night. Caroline left Lello on her unmade bed.
Tonight she’s going to her first sleepover – the birthday party of a friend that she’s known since Kindergarten. She’s been super-excited since she got the invitation. This morning before school, she carefully packed her overnight bag, asking if we had any travel-size toothpaste that’s “not gross.” I found some not-gross toothpaste for her.
She also packed PJs, a diary, a photo of her friend Vivien, a hairbrush, and an emoji-print sleeping bag. The essentials. I made a mental note to have her pack a pillow before we leave the house this evening. When I glanced at her bed – that’s when I noticed Lello.
Lello was a baby shower gift before Caroline was born, a soft, fleece blanket. I can’t remember which sweet friend gave us the gift of Lello, but her name is listed somewhere in Caroline’s baby book. It’s probably described as “cute fuzzy animal blanket” because that’s what I would have called it before it was named Lello Blanket.
The blanket’s white background is scattered with zoo animals – elephants, lions, giraffes – but the animal that Caroline loved the most is a yellow tiger. By the time she began to talk, she would point at the tiger and try to say “yellow,” which sounded more like “leyo,” which eventually became a real, proper blanket name: Lello.
Lello Blanket has been on every overnight trip she’s taken, from Disney World to Tiki’s house, always packed on top for on-demand comfort at a moment’s notice. The white part is more a dingy, pale gray from being washed in a load of jeans years ago. The animals are faded, and the tag is frayed. Lello looks exactly like what it is: a well-loved blanket.
This could be Lello’s first night alone. I’m feeling sorry for Lello.
My Facebook feed lately has been filled with graduation photos – friends’ kids who’ll be off to college in August or even sooner. The ones that tug at my tear ducts are the side-by-side pics of the same kid in kindergarten and a cap and gown. It happens in a blink, the growing up.
Caroline is nine, more than halfway to high school graduation. Makes me want to keep her home from all sleepovers and miscellaneous fun activities. Also makes me wonder: will Lello make the cut as dorm-room bedding? Or will it fade to obsolescence long before that?
I don’t know how Lello will fare in the future. Maybe I’m projecting my own fears of obsolescence onto Lello Blanket?
Nah . . .
Tuesday morning. Caroline reminded me to pack Lello Blanket in the suitcase for vacation. Maybe there’s still a future for Lello after all. ; )