Most of my spam falls into the garden-variety category, the requests for help from foreign emissaries and such. But the other day, I received this email instead.

Ms. Dilloway,

First off, this is not spam. Well, not in the traditional sense.

I am writing to you because of a comment you made years ago on a site called ‘dealspl.us‘ for an item sold on redenvelope.com.

I am on a quest to locate a replacement blanket that has served my young son as an attachment item for the last four years. His original and much-loved blanket, through a series of unfortunate events, ended up in a landfill 70 miles and one state away. I was one beat behind it every step of the way, and arrived at the landfill just hours after the truck carrying the blanket did, but alas, I was too late. This thing that my son loved and held for so many years, is now destined to rot slowly in the mud, buried deep beneath the earth among diapers and mud. This pains me more than the loss of an inanimate object should.

My son is healthy and happy, and I am thankful that our biggest problem is that of a missing blanket. That said, I am trying very hard to replace this blanket, and I am now directing my energies toward finding a replacement for it, which has long since been discontinued. My search led me to a comment you made for the very same blanket when it was newly offered and still readily available. My only hope now is to find someone who purchased one approximately the same time and hope to acquire it from them, assuming it doesn’t hold as much sentimental value to them as our lost binky did to us. So that brings me to the writing of this (non-spam!)email.

Did you purchase one of these blankets, or do you know any one  who did who might be willing to part with it?

I have attached a picture from the original link upon which you commented, as well as my Sam, using his in his usual way.

Any response is appreciated, and thank you if you read this far.

Swinging wildly in the dark now,
Sam Heaton’s Dad, Bill.

P.s. Your comment, and the original link:

“Babies need swaddling, so why not give this and have their baby look extra super duper cute? It’d also be a fine Halloween costume. For an extra $10, get it personalized.” -posted July 19, 2008

So my first thought was, I knew DealsPlus would haunt me forever! Ha. It’s a bargain-hunting website, and when it first opened (I haven’t visited forever, I hear it’s doing well) you’d get rewarded for going online and finding deals. I happened to find this blanket on sale so I posted it. I never owned it.

I responded to Bill, I looked at his website, I’m reasonable sure he’s not a spambot out to bilk us all out of our Redenvelope lamb blankets. Therefore:

DOES ANYONE OWN THIS BLANKET? More specifically, if you own this blanket, will you part with it?

See how adorable it is?

 

Now, replacing a lost blanket is not something I’d undertake myself, though I rather admire the love and commitment shown by Bill. To reassure the dad,  I replied that my son used to have a blanket-binky that he got over having, and so did I. I remember I had this picture book called Jane’s Blanket, about a girl giving up her blanket, that I adored. It’s the only children’s book Arthur Miller ever wrote, and a cursory search tells me it’s out of print and selling for $100 and up now. I should have kept it! They really should reprint it. Anyway, the book is all about the cycles of life, of growing up, of letting go.

And of course my ponderous brain started thinking about loss and how it shapes us. Always dangerous, my thinking! Everyone put on your protective gear in case some splatter occurs. I’m not trying to say he shouldn’t look for the blanket (come on, it is a really cute blanket!); I’m only sharing the thoughts this whole thing triggered.

Loss is part of life. We lose beloved objects, homes, jobs, pets, loved ones.  In the parenting book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, the author tells us that small setbacks prepare kids for larger setbacks everyone will face. It makes them resilient.

I wondered if losing a binky might sort of prepare you for greater losses ahead. We all hope that our children won’t have to face a lot of pain before they’re adults, but these times cannot be chosen by you. In my life, just before Christmas, we had to re-home our beloved puppy due to my youngest’s severe allergy. A few days later, their aunt, whom they saw almost daily, died. It was, and is, the most difficult time I’ve ever experienced as a parent. We’re going to counseling, actually; and while they show signs of grief, they also show signs they’re dealing well with that which cannot be changed.

Of course, losing an object is not like losing a person. But the experience of moving on is somewhat similar. Before this big loss, we’d had many smaller losses that seemed big at the time. For example, in 2009, we had to sell everything and move for a job, involving changing of schools and friends and states, across an ocean. Starting over with nothing. It was huge, mountainous, overwhelming, depressing, but we got through it.

As the kids get older, they will have more and more setbacks and losses. Grades will not always be perfect. Teams will lose badly. Teachers may not like you. Colleges may reject you. Break-ups will happen. Grandparents will pass away. I would like to think that my kids will remember the lessons from their early trials– that one day, the sun will shine bright again.

Adversity builds character, as my mother-in-law likes to say.

Anyway, enough with the Deep Thoughts.