Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grownup Binkies

When I was six years old, I had to spend the night in the hospital because I was having my tonsils removed. As I reflect back, I remember very little about that event. I’ve been told that I was extremely ill…one doctor had told my mom that I might have leukemia. But apparently most of the medical issues were solved by doing a little cutting in the back of my throat. I’m guessing that my mom must have seen that I was somewhat frightened about the surgery…or perhaps having to stay in the hospital, because she bought me a gift. It was a small stuffed animal…an elephant.

I didn’t have many stuffed animals that I can recall as a small boy. No Teddy bear (that I remember). In fact, the elephant is the only one that I can remember. I kept it for a long time…sleeping with it for years. When we helped my mom organize stuff for our farm auction when she sold the place when I was in my 40’s, the old stuffed elephant was still with my stuff. Faded…and torn it places. It was missing one of its glass eyes, but it was still there. For many years during my childhood, it had served as my “binky”…an object that would provide me with some level of comfort.

Most of us “think” that we outgrow the need for a “binky”, but I think that as adults we simply replace them with something more “grownup”. I’ve thought a bit about that the last couple of days and put together my list of “grownup binkies” that I use. They are listed here in no particular order.

1. Coffee – As much as I hate to admit it, coffee is one of my comforters. While I’m not like many who practically need to hook up a “coffee IV” before they get out of bed in the morning, I definitely look forward to my cup of hot coffee on my way to work each morning. And if I don’t get it for some reason…well, look out. I’m going to be pretty grumpy at work that day.

2. Hot chocolate – I’m sure it goes back to my childhood, but there is just something about a cup of really rich (translate lots of Nestle’s Quick mix) cup of hot chocolate on a cold night…topped with marshmellows, of course. Even now, at age 50 plus, I will pull my largest mug down out of the cupboard on a cold rainy or snowy evening in the winter and put the tea kettle on my stove to make a large cup. It’s not quite as good as the stuff we made with real milk growing up, but it still hits the spot.

3. Neck tickling – Not a joke. I love to have the back of my neck softly tickled. Not the front…that causes panic attacks, but that’s a different story. It almost makes me purr like a kitten when my neck is gently massaged or lightly tickled. I most definitely relax.

4. A blanket just out of the dryer – Ok, this one might be cheating…or a throwback to being a kid. There is just something about the feeling of a blanket that’s just been pulled out of the dryer to cuddle with on the couch. I think it’s the smell of the fabric softener sheet and the warmth that penetrates my entire being. I don’t remember ever having a warm blanket like that growing up…but my kids (and my wife) loved it whenever I pulled one out of my dryer and wrapped them in it.

5. The ocean surf – I’ve always loved the sound of the ocean. There is just something so peaceful about hearing the rhythmic sounds of waves lapping on the beach. It almost transforms me into weightlessness…like a feeling of floating over the ocean like the billowy clouds suspended from the heaven above.

I’m sure there are a number of other “binkies” that I could name here. But as I listed these, it was such a nice reminder that there are many things in my life that give me comfort when I need it. How about you?

Binky photo from Flickr

Hot Chocolate photo from Bing