I have had a security blanket all my life. I have heard stories of people's parents taking their blankets away at a certain age or cutting off a piece until it was down to nothing. I don't understand what makes people so mad at blankies.

When my sisters and I were growing up, our mother had a color coding system for us. Pink for me, yellow for Sparkleface, and blue for little Peev. Every year at Christmas, our presents were never tagged with our names, but instead wrapped in our signature colored wrapping paper. Easter Sunday ditto - when we hunted eggs we could only pick up our own - the others had to be left for their rightful finders. We thought all the children of the world had their own color designation.

So one day mom was cleaning the living room, "This place is a pigsty!" she cried. "can't I get some help around here?"

Then she saw them, aging in the middle of the floor in front of an ignored episode of Gilligan's Island: our security blankets, faded with age, holes in the center, tatters on the outside, smelly - just the way we liked them. (*Now I stop the story here, because now that I am older I understand the wife-and-mother-premenstral-cleaning-spree. Then, we just thought she was a raging loony who wouldn't leave us alone)

"Girls!" she shrieked, "get in here...NOW!" We knew she meant business - but never dreamed what she had in store. "This is the last time I'm picking up these mangy blankets from my floor!" We started to go back to our Barbies or whatever we were doing - we'd heard that line before.

"I AM SEROUS!!!" She whipped our beautiful pink, yellow, and blue (well ok they were all gray) blankies up in a ball and carried them out to the garage. We followed, helpless. She opened the door to the Dodge Coronet station wagon and threw those blankies onto the floor of the passenger side. "Get...in" she seethed through her clenched teeth. We did as she said toot sweet - Mom only did her Jack Palance impression when she meant business.

We were still buckling out lapbelts when the tires peeled out of the driveway (leaving skid marks which are probably still there at 375 Jay Road, Eagle Idaho if you care to look) and we were on the road to what we were sure was the dump. Sparkleface burst into tears. "Mommy...pleath pleath don't take Memook to the dump." But we had already arrived at our destination.

Mom pulled the car into a parking spot and cut the ignition. She turned around and saw our red little faces sniffing back at her. "Aw honey," she tenderly adjusted one of Sparky's blonde ponytails and wiped a tear off my freckly cheek. "I'd never never take your Memook to the dump. Look." She pointed up at the sign over the door. Ladybug Fabrics.

That day she bought 6 yards of fabric: a yard each of the softest cotton gingham in pink, yellow, and blue; and this neat fabric they don't make anymore because it's too flammable but it was slick and cool and quilted, one yard in each of our colors. We went home and Mom sat at the dinner table for the rest of the evening with her sewing stuff so spread out Dad had to go to Burger King for dinner and we ate a picnic on the living room floor. She got them done just in time for bed.

I slept with that pink blanket for years and years and years. It muffled my giggles when my sisters and I were sneaking up to watch Saturday Night Live and caught my tears when my boyfriend and I broke up. I brought it on my honeymoon, and took it to the hospital when I had my first baby. I finally put the blanket in a drawer when my daughter was born - I was 29. I don't know exactly why - maybe having my last baby made me feel complete.

I think I'll go take it out of the drawer and smell it and remember.