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My daughter has a lovie named (most appropriately and creatively) Blankie. Blankie has been with our family for the entire 7+ years of Kenzie’s life. She has gone on every vacation with us, experienced the highs and lows of life with us, and has never missed a night snuggled up in my precious daughters arms.
And Blankie is also DISGUSTING.
Sure, she didn’t start out that way. She started out beautiful, hand quilted by my mom before Kenzie even made her glorious entrance into this world. She is pink and white and lovingly constructed of the softest cotton that you can put together in a quilt. She was an act of love from a grandmother to a granddaughter. And she has been nothing if not loved through all the years of Kenz’s life. And she shows it.
Because love to a child means thick and thin. It means comfort. It means constant companionship. For Kenzie in particular, love and comfort with Blankie mean sucking her thumb. It means taking the soft part of the edging and (if you’re squeamish look away right now) shoving it UP HER NOSE while she sucks her thumb. It means taking frayed edges and ripping them so that she can wrap the entire thing around her leg while she lays in bed. (Kids are super weird). To a kid, love and comfort and companionship mean that Blankie goes where Kenzie goes. That may mean being dragged through the mud at the park. It may mean taking a trip to the bathroom with her and accidentally dropping in the potty. It may mean dragging on the floor behind her as she walks through the garage, parking lots, malls, doctors offices…basically anywhere you can think of that you would tell your child not to eat a Cheerio that dropped onto, that’s where Blankie goes.
It definitely means that Blankie is gross. Yes. I know as a parent that the right thing to do is take her away and do some elaborate “giving away” ceremony that would make Pinterest swoon. I know, based on years of feedback from her dentist, that she needs to stop sucking her thumb RIGHT NOW so we don’t have to spend thousands in braces when she’s 10. (We all know that ship has sailed and that 99.9% of all kids need braces anyway so I’m not buying it, Mrs. Dentist and your threats). I know I should, say, wash Blankie once in a while so she isn’t so gross. Oh, wait….I actually do that one. Sadly she’s just gross now. There’s not enough detergent this side of heaven to make that Blankie new.
But the softie mom in me just doesn’t want to. Why? Because Blankie is Kenzie’s comfort. Blankie represents for Kenzie what we all need as adults too, a safe place, somewhere to go that is completely 100% hers and completely 100% comfortable.
Yes, I know there’s all sorts of psychological reasons why I should take her away; I don’t need 1000 comments on why I’m a bad parent for not doing so. But I want my daughter to have a thing, a place, a something that represents that comfort to her. And I know that the day that she doesn’t need Blankie quite as much is the day that I know she has grown up. And I guess I’m not ready for that.
Sometimes I wish I had a Blankie that I could wrap around my leg and stick up my nose. (Metaphorically, people. Geez). Because it’s true…sometimes life is uncomfortable and we don’t know where to turn for that ultimate comfort we crave. Sometimes we want something so familiar and intrinsically ours that even the scent steadies our breathing and sets our hearts back to a regular beat. So where do we go for that comfort? What is it we turn to? Sure, we turn to our husbands and wives. One of the main reasons why I fell in love with my husband was his ability to provide me comfort…to be the calm to my ever-present storm. But sometimes we have to find it within our selves too. There’s a reason why “self-care” is a huge hit on social media. We all need it.
For me, I’ve got 3 things, not unlike Blankie, that I turn to when I’m feeling uncomfortable, or like I’ve lost my bearings or lost a little bit of myself that I want to reclaim. Yours may be different, I would love to hear what they are. But for me, these 3 are my ultimate go-to in the list of ‘self-care’:
- Reading: I’m not at all ashamed of the fact that I am a big old book nerd. I take pride in this fact. I devour books of all kinds. They’re my little escape. They’re where I go to understand this world, and the human condition, and the heart of man. They’re where I go to learn, to grow and to expand my heart and mind. Fiction and stories for me are my drama. I don’t do TV, but I will do a mean novel or two or three a week. But that’s not really what I’m talking about here (I do, though, have a post on my top 5 novels of all time coming soon–stay tuned). What I’m talking about are good, meaty, get into your heart non-fictions. Books that bring comfort because you read them and go “OH, YEAH, me too…” Those are my go-tos when things seem weird or like my heart is chafing against my mind. I highly recommend checking them out. Let me know your thoughts.
- Writing: I’m a writer. And I don’t mean in that lofty “oh I’m a writer so I’m better than you,” way. I mean in the, “I have 30 million journals filled with my thoughts laying around the house,” way. I write my prayers. I write my thoughts. I write in verse, in prose. I write whatever comes to my mind. And it’s therapy. It’s where it all comes out. I love journals of all kinds. I’m not picky, I will use a leftover kids spiral notebook just as soon as I’ll use a pretty journal. But I do think that pretty journals make you feel like a writer. Make you feel better. So try one of these on for size or send me your fave. I’ll be sure to get it to add to my stash.
- Prayer: For most, prayer would have to be first on this list. But for me, prayer has become so pervasive that it IS this list. My reading and my writing all center around prayer–all things come from the root of it. God is the one and only place we can all go for the ultimate comfort. He knows you inside and out. He’s not surprised by your worst or your best. And he loves you for both. Jesus wants us to come to Him. In all humbleness like a child needs their blanket, so should we go to Him. He gives ultimate rest. Ultimate comfort. He’s the beginning and the end of where you need to go for that self-care you crave. So go to Him. Tell Him your worries and your cares. He already knows. And the good news is, He knows how your story plays out and He’s there with you every step of the way.
And obviously, since this is a food blog, I also cook for comfort. I show love by cooking–it is the ultimate sign of affection and care. And it brings me comfort to know that my family is cared for by something I made with my own two hands. This weekend, we froze our behinds off at the baseball fields all morning. And the only thing I could think of making was one of my husbands favorites, Potato Soup. It is the ultimate comfort food–warm, creamy and topped with bacon. What’s not to love? This recipe can originally be found over on The Recipe Critic which is an amazing food blog that I use often for recipes as well as food blog inspiration. Check Alyssa out, her work is amazing and her site is fabulous! And make this soup. It’s easy peasy and will bring you that comfort you crave!
The original recipe can be found here: https://therecipecritic.com/2015/01/slow-cooker-loaded-baked-potato-soup/
Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- 4 cups peeled and diced potatoes (about 3-4 large russet potatoes)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 flour
- 1/3 sour cream
- 1 1/2 cup half and half (recipe calls for heavy cream, but i used half and half and got great results)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional Toppings:
- Bacon, cooked and crumbled (but really, is bacon ever really an OPTION?)
- Cheddar Cheese
- Green Onions
- Step 1 1. Add potatoes, diced onions and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on love 4-6 hours or high 3-4 until potatoes are tender.
- Step 2 2. About 30 minutes before it’s done, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook until bubbly. Slowly add the half and half and sour cream. The mixture should be thick. Add this to the soup and stir. Continue to cook in the slow cooker to 20-30 minutes.
- Step 3 3. Serve with toppings, or you can also stir them all into the soup. ENJOY!