|Kelli, cuddling Royal in his precious blue baby blanket shortly after his birth|
I recently had a rather bittersweet experience related to the loss of a baby blanket that belonged to our grandson, Royal. The following week, we received nine baby blankets ordered via eBay during a period of panic as I hoped to find something that might serve as a suitable replacement. The lost baby blanket, as I discovered through very sad experience, was not so replaceable. I grossly underestimated the value of Royal’s baby blanket and, therefore, neglected to properly care for it. The value was not fully appreciated until it was lost. It was through the process of recovery that I learned a valuable lesson, grew closer to my sweet wife, Maralea, our wonderful daughter, Kelli, little Royal, and most importantly, to Heavenly Father. I am a different person after this experience. Many aware of my circumstances in this blanket search and rescue effort concluded that I was obsessing, that it was just a piece of fabric (no big deal) and that I needed to chalk it up as a loss and move on. However, I had faith that Heavenly Father knew where the blanket was. He knew how I could find and retrieve it. I had faith in Him that He would open a way for me to return it to our little grandson, who was sorely troubled and distressed by its absence. I have learned that there is nothing too great or too small for Heavenly Father to handle for us. If the issue is of concern to us, it is of concern to Him.
|Royal, November 2012, his blue blanket accompanying him on his first plane flight|
In 2 Kings 6:1-7, as Elisha was working alongside a man by the River Jordan cutting wood to build a structure, one of Elisha’s associates lost the head of his ax into the water. The man cried: “Alas, master!” (2 Kings 6:5.) The man’s anguish was further explained: “for it was borrowed.” (Id.) So, Elisha went into action. He asked the man to show him where it fell, then used the divine power of the priesthood to perform a recovery miracle, causing the ax to rise to the water surface, where it was then retrieved. (2 Kings 6:6-7.) What great relief that man must have felt when the ax was returned to him! Surely, with God, nothing is impossible.
When Jacob sought a blessing, he relentlessly wrestled with a heavenly messenger. (Genesis 32:24-30.) Consider this exchange between the angel and Jacob:
Angel: Let me go, for the day breaketh.
Jacob: I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:26.)
At that moment, Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, and the angel said: “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28.) Jacob’s determination was rewarded, but only after toiling through the night. It is often that the greatest blessings come once we have given our all in seeking them. If we exercise faith in the Savior, and diligently seek His inspiration and influence while exhausting our mortal efforts, blessings and miracles follow.
|September 2013, the baby blanket made its way with Royal to see Aubrey|
|David with daughter Aubrey, with her precious pink blanket, and Royal, with his blue one, February 2014|
|Royal cuddles in his blue blanket with Uncle David|
|Royal holds both his blue blanket and his mommy in very high esteem, here in April 2014|
|The blue blanket has a companion, a white blanket, which is nice, but does not hold the same place in Royal's heart as the blue blanket, here in April 2014|
|Royal slumbers as we drive to go camping|
|Royal met a Gopher snake|
|Royal was just revved up all night long, exploring|
everything the playground had to offer
|Royal and his blanket on their first camp out|
Finally, after midnight, I figured it was late enough for both of us. When I told Royal it was time for bed, he began to cry and sorely protested. As I changed his diaper and got him ready for bed, Royal grabbed his blue blanket, bundled it up, and buried his face in it as he whimpered and cried. Royal fell asleep a few minutes later as I played the guitar and quietly sang for him. Royal had supplanted his Sesame Street pillow with the blue blanket, which he had placed securely under his head. To my surprise, that little guy slept great through the night. He woke up a couple times, sat up and seemed a little disoriented. But, after some brief assurance, Royal would cuddle up with his blue blanket and go back to sleep.
|Royal and the blanket made it through|
|Royal and blanket, ready for some action|
after a good night's camp out sleep
|Flashlight left behind: check|
|Breakfast, blanket is now misplaced . . . and|
I had no idea (ugh)
Mom could see that I was sorely stressing over the situation and volunteered to make the 120 mile round trip to Moapa with me after dinner so we could search the area for the blanket. So, Mom and I took a rather long Sunday drive, her chosen way of spending time on Mother's Day 2014. When we arrived at the park where Royal and I had camped a couple days earlier, I saw that the grass had been recently cut, the garbage cans had all been emptied and I feared that the blue blanked had been thrown away. I saw a dumpster completely full of garbage bags. I thought that might be a great blessing, that the blanket was most likely somewhere in that garbage heap. So, I emptied the entire dumpster. I got inside and searched, then went through every bag. It was a rather messy and unpleasant task. However, I was focused on retrieving that precious blanket. In fact, I was kind of excited to dumpster dive. I could already imagine the great joy we would have when the blanket was found, as Mom cheered me on from the car. (Mom thought I was going crazy, I’m sure. She just would never say something like that because, well, she’s my mom.) Unfortunately, the blanket was nowhere to be found. I walked the grounds, surveyed the elementary school playground next door, a desert area to the north, and an LDS chapel to the east. Still, there was no sign of the precious blue blanket. At best, we verified that it was not thrown away at the park. So, I thought there might be a chance that it was found and placed in a lost and found with the county parks department. My stress level increased as Mom and I drove home empty handed.
|The park where the Royal blanket story occurred|
|We searched all through the baseball field area|
|I think the blanket was probably left in this pavilion area during breakfast|
|Royal spent a lot of time in this playground area the night before - loved it|
|Royal wasn't big enough to swing by himself, but that didn't keep him away from that area. I had chased him around all night long.|
|This picture haunted me. There is was, the blue blanket.|
How could have I left it behind???
|Another picture that haunted me, Royal|
emerging triumphantly from the tent, blanket in hand
Heavenly Father, I know you have much better things to do. But, this is so important to my little grandson. It is far more important to the family than I ever imagined. I was negligent and dumb. I need to find that blanket. If at all possible, Heavenly Father, please bless me with whatever inspiration and tools I need to find that blanket. If it is in someone’s possession, please bless them to take action that will help me return it to Royal.
I repeated that prayer daily, with ever increasing conviction and desperation. But, with each passing day, my faith wavered a little bit.
My sister, Allison, related the story of "The Brave Little Toaster", which assigns human emotions to inanimate objects, like little boy blankets, that desperately try to find their loving owners. Great. The picture in my mind of the precious blue blanket suffering in grief for being separated from Royal only added to my personal grief and distress. I spent over $250 on eBay purchases trying to find a replacement. (By the way, we now have nine extra baby blankets of the same manufacturer, all of different colors than the one special lost blue blanket.)
|The image of the crying blanket from "The Brave Little Toaster" (as he holds a picture of the little boy who left him behind) was a great motivator for me|
|This is the kind of Royal/blanket picture I hoped we would take again!|
|This provides some perspective of the 250 miles collectively driven to and from Moapa in our efforts to find Royal's missing blanket|
|An aerial shot of the Moapa park and surrounding area. I just knew Royal's blanket was there somewhere waiting for us to find it. (We have since established a no blanket left behind policy.)|
|What an incredible reunion, Royal and blue blanket!!|
|Royal was clearly happy to have his blue blanket back|
|I will never again underestimate the worth of a blanket to a little child|
|As Allison later said, "The blanket found Royal" and was just as happy to be back with him|
As we drove home, I related our very happy news to the family. Everyone knew I was suffering (especially my mother), because Royal was very distressed. On the way home, our little grandson hugged the blue blanket as he sat in his car seat. Kelli was so happy that she started crying upon receiving the news. (She later told me that Royal was waking up at night during the prior week and whining: "Bwue bwankie.") Really, as insignificant as this would seem to most on the outside, this was a big event in our family. It was a very real dilemma and we all joined together in prayer for a resolution. We feel so relieved, so blessed. That night, as Royal laid on the couch, curled up with his precious blue blanket, I thanked my wonderful, all powerful Heavenly Father, who cared enough to bless me with sufficient direction and inspiration to find this important item.
|Blue and white blankets reunited with Royal, as he revels in having these all important|
pieces of his world back together
Epilogue: As noted above, I spent over $250 on eBay trying to buy the perfect replacement blanket, just in case our little blanket miracle did not pan out. We kept them all as a monument to the worth of a little boy's blanket. (Plus, if another one is lost, we'll have a spare - although we've already discovered that Royal absolutely knows the difference.)
|These Tiddliwinks blankets are no longer manufactured. They cost about $20 retail back in the day, but anywhere from $40-$90 on eBay for desperate people like me|
|This was the back up blanket Kelli had purchased for Royal, just in case of such an emergency. When she offered it to Royal, he surveyed it briefly then tossed it aside. He knew the difference.|
|My new blanket collection from eBay. Isn't it lovely? By the way, we could not find the right matching color, so I was going to have to somehow work through that issue of the original had not been located.|
|One of my all time favorite pictures!!!! Here, Royal is reunited with his best friend ever blue blanket surrounded by evidence of Grandpa's eBay baby blanket bingo.|
|Royal was not even one day old before he and|
his Bwue Bwankee were introduced
|Royal, already praying for BYU wins, here less than one week old|
|Royal with his Great Grandpa Royal while attending his first Eagle Scout Court of Honor on|
March 25, 2012
|Royal headed with his mommy, Nanny and blanket for his fist Kelly Family Reunion in Reno in June 2012, the last such reunion we would have before his Great Grandfather Kelly passed away|
|Royal and his Papa relaxing on the shore of Lake Tahoe in June 2012|
|Royal wrapped in the warmth and love of his buddy blanket in September 2012|
|Royal's blue blanket accompanied him back to Reno in November 2012 to attend the funeral of his Great Grandfather Kelly|
|Royal as he often napped, with both his white and blue blanket, here in his crib in July 2013|
|Mom and Dad, Valentine's Day 2015, which was probably the last "normal" evening were were able to enjoy with Mom before the horrific combined effects of cancer and chemo took away all the good things in her life|
|With Mom in the hospital, late February 2015, when all the cancer stuff started to get real|
|Three generations of the most beautiful, wonderful Royal women anyone could ever have in their life|
|This is the last picture of Mom and me, March 2015. She just did not look good after this. But, I so loved our mother. Her love for me and my love for Royal and his baby blanket are closely tied together.|
|Royal and his cousin Beckham together with their Great Royal Grandparents, February 2012|
|March, 2014. We are grateful that we will have future similar pictures of Royal and his blanket|
thanks to our thrilling recovery