This work of art by big brother, Jonathan ("Ja-sha"), was among the many sentimental items featured on Bryce's high school senior table. Entitled, "By By bobo," it depicts 5-year-old Superman Bryce flying far above the earth and the sun. Floating gracefully beneath him into the final frontier is Bobo, Bryce's beloved blankie. Note the careful attention to detail respectfully given to Bobo This detail reveals the understood extension-of-Bryce status that Bobo held in our household. The juxtaposition of the strength of Superman releasing the comfort of Bobo was meant to represent the big boy status of a brother ready to embark on a new adventure - all day Kindergarten. Beneath the drawing, Bryce's old pals lay in state awaiting the shuffling passersby during the post-graduation reception.
I am still kicking myself for concocting a plan to wean Bryce from his Bobo to spare him the disparaging remarks he might have heard during Kindergarten nap time as he cuddled with his soft reminder of home. He was a shy child who carefully observed people before letting them into his Superman world of creativity, loyalty, and camaraderie. Bobo was his protector. His safe place. His hiding place. This strategy to extricate this lifelong buddy from our soon-to-be-man-child was based on the theory that if the sneers of five year old bullies didn't ruin his self-esteem, the wiry web of extensive orthodontics would.
His older-by-17-months brother, Jonathan, came bounding into the world shunning pacifiers and baby blankies. He much preferred the comfort of being rocked in the wee hours by his sleep deprived parents. The term "self-soothing" never applied to this headstrong, bright firstborn. Oh, no. He totally bypassed the instruments of self-soothing and marched straight towards "'Poptot,' NOW!"
His younger-by-three-years brother, Reed, was born into our family just happy to be here. As a toddler, he found his comfort in his ever-faithful companion, Bonket. As the experienced mother of his older brothers, I made no mention of potty training or the evils that lurked around every corner waiting to attack little boys dragging blankies into battle. I have no memory of a plan to lure him from his Bonket. Nor do I remember ever plying him with M&Ms to pee on the potty. One day wearing big boy underwear, he just skipped out the door with a 6-shooter and Indian headdress. "Heew I come! You betta run!"
Bryce's Bobo was with him at all times until the day it was carried into another galaxy by Superman. He wore it as a turban. He had me tie it around his neck like a cowboy kerchief. It was scented with his peanut-buttery-oreo-cookie saliva and his sweaty-little-boy perfume. Taking it from the drier warm and scented with Tide, I loved to hold it to my face to breathe in the fragrance of the innocence and sweetness of my son who was standing there waiting to greet his long lost friend.
Bryce, indeed, survived Kindergarten without Bobo. He is now a strong, studious college boy. As I pack up the "Finals Survival Kits" containing cookies, beef jerky, and Sour Patch Kids for my three sons next week, I may just go into Bryce's room and release Bobo from the depths of the cedar chest where it rests for time eternal. I wonder if Bryce would roll his eyes at the sight of the ragged, still soft blankie. Or, would he gather it up into his hands and bury his head in the memory of their friendship? If no one is looking, I'm betting on the latter response. "Hey, Bobo! Come sit with me while I trudge through my Brit Lit notes."
Oh, ye mothers of babes in arms, when the time comes that peer pressure brings about the impending doom of your child's lovie, call me. I will convince you otherwise.