• Carly Rae

The Blanket

I wake up to a light tap on my shoulder. My little one, Cleo, silently and without disturbing the king-sized mattress, manages to wiggle her tanned body in between my husband and me quicker than I know what is happening. My motherly instincts are to draw her in close for a cuddle, even though my mind is telling me to say, “Go back into your own bed.” As it stands, exhaustion wins out and I let her stay in my bed.

It is the first cool night we have had in Sydney in 2020. April is always unpredictable, so crisp nights sneak up on you. One day you might be swimming at the beach and the next day you are wearing a jacket and lighting the fire.

Last night I dug out the “winter pyjamas” for the kids and pulled the warm duvets out of the storage cupboard before bed. After years of living in Australia, a place where central heating barely exists, I have learned a valuable lesson: layers are best when getting dressed or making the bed because you never know what the weather will bring.

Tonight, when I thoughtfully made my own bed, I placed layer upon layer. The first blanket I picked up was the hand-made quilt from my Great Grandmother. It was stitched with her old, wise hands from scraps of clothing material and was given to my parents as a wedding present in 1977. Next, I placed a soft, thick, flannel blanket and then on top of that, a heavy down-feather duvet and cotton cover. When I slipped under it at bedtime, I could feel the heavy weight of all the blankets on top of me. I instantly felt warm and calm. I suddenly realised that I have always loved being loaded up with blankets since I was a little girl. It always felt like I was getting a giant hug from God.

After Cleo gets herself happily ensconced in our bed, it isn’t long before I fall asleep and have a dream that seems so real. I am 7-years old again and back at my Nona’s house. She is tucking me into bed for a sleep-over. Her skin smells of Nivea Cream and when I touch her housecoat it is the softest fabric I have ever felt. I feel like I am in a Super King bed, but in fact, it is just a standard double size. As I lay under the covers, I feel so safe that it feels like “home”.

When I wake up, I am aware that it is 2020 and I am in Sydney, Australia amidst a worldwide pandemic. I understand that my dream was a memory from my childhood over 30 years ago. It makes me miss my Nona so much. I look to my right and see my little 7-year-old koala snuggled in my arm while we lay underneath my great grandmother’s blanket. And just like in my dream, she feels like she is safe and at “home”.

So glad that my heart won the battle tonight.

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