My family is a really huge blankie family. Each of my kids has their own and they’ve had them from birth; the treasured “doot-do”, as my kids call them. It’s an unintelligible baby word that has been passed from kid to kid and still holds its own against questioning neighbors and visiting friends. We all love the name “doot-do” because it’s distinctly us; part of our Smith culture. But my husband and I especially adore it for a second reason: every time we hear it, we’re reminded of our son in baby form. Christian was the creator of the name way back before he could speak properly. He captivated us and to this day our vocabulary if full of Christian-isms. Way back when all of his words were just sounds that sounded almost nothing like actual words, Christian had his “doot-do”.
For the first few years of each of our little lovies’ lives, doot-dos have accompanied us through daily life. Through major life events like ER visits or menial tasks like running errands, we’ve had that little cotton/polyester friend. For Nyla, our nearly 2 year old, her doot-do has been dragged through dirt and parking lot grime and donned more business doorways than any Smith doot-do before it.
A Traumatic Event
Saturday started out like nearly any other for our family. We relaxed a bit; cartoons and family breakfast and then we set off to accomplish something. Agenda item #1 and only: shop for our first family camping trip EVER. Preparing for our big adventure (just a couple of days away) was thrilling. While the older kids were having fun throwing both essentials and non-essentials into the cart Nyla was slowly unraveling. By the time we arrived in the frozen food aisle, she was a frazzled mess. Nyla caught one glimpse of the bagged ice (she LOVES ice) and threw herself down onto the supermarket-grade linoleum floor in pieces. As her doot-do miraculously emerged from the stroller along with her beloved binky all her tears turned to joy and her tiny broken heart was instantly mended. Knowing our shopping would grow more painful by the moment, we quickly navigated our way through the checkout line and out to the car.
Evening slowly descended and bedtime swiftly followed. As each Smith kid prepared for bed and snuggled up to their doot-dos one question floated in the air through all the rooms of our house, “where is Nyla’s doot-do??” We searched everywhere it could possibly be as well as all the ridiculously impossible places, still it wasn’t found. As each additional minute of looking produced nothing, one enormous fear grew in my mind…what if we left it at the store?
The store had become our last hope. We all said a prayer as Adam drove off in search of doot-do. To kids who consider their prized, most precious earthly possession to be their doot-dos, a loss of that magnitude could only mean a sinister and meticulous theft. Terror filled Christian’s heart as he imagined someone breaking into our home and taking only Nyla’s doot-do. He ran quickly through the house so to not be caught by the lurking intruder. He was confident that this bandit remained somewhere in a nook or cranny. Nyla was oddly satisfied by our plethora of backup blankies. She waded through them all and quickly fell asleep with my reassurance that’d I’d be searching for her first love. Meanwhile, our Mia was broken hearted over her sister’s loss. She lay in her bed and sobbed, “Nyla will be so sad. Doot-do is what makes her happy.” This was beginning to feel like a death in our family…for all of us.
After comforting each little face I sunk into the sofa and sent out a discouraged text question, “Anything?” The answer was equally discouraged, “Not yet…” I began imagining how rocky the next few days minus doot-do might be for Nyla…and us all. I prayed again for this silly, yet priceless doot-do and waited.
Meanwhile, Adam had carefully searched the entire store and parking lot but had come up empty. After speaking with the manager and a couple of employees he decided it was time to head home. Getting no more than a few steps into the parking lot, his phone rang. Someone had just found Nyla’s precious and had turned it in! It was like all the missing pieces of our family were now returning to their proper place.
Yes, it’s all fairly dramatic. But for this blankie loving family, the temporary loss of Nyla’s doot-do felt like a death. The recovery of this dearly loved thing felt miraculous. As soon as I received the amazing news I speed-tiptoed up our stairs to share it with Mia. After a few nudges she smiled faintly and slipped back to sleep. By morning the whole ordeal was beginning to feel more like a hazy dream, as doot-do took its place in Nyla’s arms again.
We could have easily chalked up finding doot-do to lovely happenstance or good fortune, but one of my favorite scriptures kept rolling around in my mind (below).
Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11 (GNT)
Writer and fellow traveler on the road of life.