Why I’m in Mourning Over My Child’s Security Blanket
I think I’m grieving, if it’s possible to grieve the loss of your child’s need for their security blanket. Or maybe I’m mourning my daughter’s actual security blanket? I’ve known Clancy the Bear, after all, for nearly 15 years—longer than I’ve known my own daughter.
Clancy is, or was, my daughter’s security blanket. Clancy is a stuffed bear the size of a adult knapsack. Clancy has lived a very blessed life, so much so that it is indeed possible be jealous of an inanimate stuffed animal. If only Clancy could speak, oh the stories he could tell!
I purchased Clancy the Bear, at The Pottery Barn, when I was about six months pregnant, thinking the stuffed bear was just too cute, and I needed to have it in my daughter’s nursery.
I never imagined that Clancy would turn into my daughter’s only security blanket—Clancy is so big!—which means my daughter used to take him everywhere. That is, until she suddenly didn’t.
I’m upset about this sudden change, especially since my daughter has used Clancy as a pillow for more than a decade. While everyone else her age had a small security blanket, Clancy was big and he used to be a pain in the butt to pack, or take anywhere with, since he would take up half of a suitcase. (At least we never lost him, although Clancy has been in a few FedEx boxes, after he was forgotten a few times.)
I became attached to Clancy, too.
Clancy is more well-travelled than a Kardashian’s makeup bag. Because Clancy went every where with my daughter, this means Clancy has been to Italy, Switzerland, Aspen, Scottsdale, Mexico, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Vancouver, Hawaii, Florida, London, Paris, New York City, and even to a Dude Ranch in Colorado. If Clancy, my daughter’s security blanket, was an actual human, he’d have more Air Miles than the Prime Minister.
Clancy also got a lot of attention, like he a celebrity. Whenever we’d go somewhere people would comment on Clancy, much like how people stop and say how cute your dog is. At restaurants, my daughter would demand a high chair for Clancy, and waiters were only too happy to oblige to my daughter’s request. Sometimes, we’d even place a few french fries on a plate for Clancy, since, you know, he was eating dinner with the family. Even the waiters would bring out crayons and a colouring book for Clancy. Everyone in my family, as ridiculous as this sounds, has a soft spot for Clancy, because Rowan always went everywhere hand-in-paw with Clancy.
Because my daughter is a child of divorce, Clancy also has two houses, and grandparents who live in another city, along with my parents here in Toronto. Everyone, constantly, would ask my daughter, ‘Did you pack Clancy?’ And, ‘Don’t forget Clancy.’ Or, ‘Is Clancy coming?’ Even, ‘I can’t wait to see Clancy!’ We all felt the need to love Clancy as much as Rowan did. We actually worried about Clancy like he was another child.
One year, since I had told my daughter that Clancy was three months older than she was, my daughter calculated the day Clancy was “born,” and, yes, invited relatives (including a great aunt and her uncles) to celebrate Clancy’s birthday. Yes, we actually threw a birthday party for Clancy, more than once. The guest list was pretty exclusive; only close relatives and other stuffed animal friends were invited. My mother bought a cake with Clancy’s name on it. Photos were taken. A wish was made. Rowan/Clancy blew out a candle.
Clancy the Bear has travelled the sorld. If this security blanket could talk.
We couldn’t go, well, anywhere without people asking about Clancy and what his name is. For years, every day my daughter used to ask me, ‘You’re going to watch Clancy while I’m at school, right?’ Then, when she came home, she’d ask what Clancy did all day. And I would make up some exciting excursion Clancy the Bear had been on that day.
As my daughter got older, and Clancy had become, shall we say—less voluptuous?—after years of being slept on for eight hours a night, plus all the times my daughter just relaxed on him. When my daughter worried that Clancy was looking ‘skinny,’ I told her that Clancy ‘obviously’ had been exercising. I mean, obviously!
Because my daughter loved Clancy unconditionally, I loved him unconditionally. Much like the Toy Story movies, Clancy became such a part of my family, that I came to think of him not just as a stuffed animal, who my daughter couldn’t live without, but also as ridiculous as this may sound, as a Bear who had his own personality. I hate to go all Toy-Story on you, but when you look in his eyes, it’s like you’re looking into the eyes of a wise old soul! (Trust me, don’t look too closely at a stuffed animals eyes. It is kind of creepy!)
And then, a few weeks ago, after my daughter went to a sleepover and I walked into her room (I sometimes do this, when she’s not around, to smell her scent) I saw Clancy on my daughter’s bed…just lying there. Am I crazy to think that Clancy looked lonely, with his head wilted down and to the side? (Over the years, Clancy has lost his neck ‘muscles’ as well.)
My daughter is now 14 and, of course I understand she may not want to bring a stuffed animal to a sleepover party, but there was no warning that she was ready to give up her security blanket. She didn’t ask me to watch him. Poof—just like that, she was over taking Clancy out in public.
I’m not sure how many of you still have your security blanket, be it a stuffed animal or a swatch of fabric, but I took my security blanket, a doll the size of my hand covered in fur, when I went off to University. She had no limbs left, and most of the fur had fallen off, but she was still coming with me. Apparently I’m in good company of adults who still have their favourite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal. According to this article about security blankets, ‘We believe these objects hold something of greater value to us than just their outward appearance or physical properties. Scientists call this belief “essentialism.” Essentialism is why we don’t feel the same about replacing a lost object, whether it be our wedding ring, a toy from our childhood, or our cherished iPhone. The new object loses that emotional attachment the original had.’
Childhood toys or objects hold an ’emotional value to us that is hard to put into words and far exceeds the physical nature of the object itself.’ Another site explains that says that most children select a security blanket around 10 months of age and hang on to it for several years. ‘Children need these items to feel safe, to withstand fear or pain and to handle being away from their parents.’
So I’m not only mourning the loss of a stuffed animal that has been in my life for 15 years, but I suppose I’m mourning the fact that my daughter feels safe enough and can handle being away from me, with or without her security. It makes me happy to see my daughter grow up. But it also sucks, too.
Last night, my daughter slept in my bed, because she helps calm my brain down. When I woke up, I saw a little piece of a brown ear sticking out, from under her hair. Yes, my daughter was using Clancy as a pillow and I couldn’t help but smile, although I know Clancy will probably make only rare appearances now. I do feel like I’m in mourning because my baby is definitely no longer a baby.
Still, Clancy, has had quite the run—a stuffed animal that should have no regrets, and lived an awesome life, and was so loved by so many. I will hold on to him forever, even if my daughter forgets about him. Because to be close to Clancy makes me feel close to my daughter.
Do you still have or keep your or your older kids security blanket? And did it kind of sting when you realized those days are over?