Yellow Baby Blanket

“What is one moment or one event that changed your life?” Whenever I hear this icebreaker question, I know I have the perfect answer: quick and easy on the surface, fraught with questions and wonderings underneath. I have no memory of being adopted, but every so often the hypothetical ‘what might have been’ surfaces, anchored by the image of me as an infant wrapped in a yellow baby blanket purchased in a Brooklyn department store long ago.

I was born in Bogotá, Colombia in the fall of 1988, and by winter I was living in New York City. Every moment I know stems from the choices adults made for me before I could crawl, the trajectory of my experience defined by a good deal of chance. What if I had a different blanket to remember the past?

I claim the rush of subway cars on my morning commute, cream cheese melted on warm bagels in the morning, and towers of glass and steel jutting into the sky. I grew up with pizza and soda lunch specials, summer evenings in Prospect Park, and spontaneous trips to the American Museum of Natural History. I wonder: Would I be, or could I be, the me I know if the grown ups had made different choices in those early weeks of my life?

Sometimes, I imagine plowing fields on the outskirts of Bogotá. Sometimes, I imagine making change from a cash register in a small shop. Sometimes, I imagine attending university with Spanish as my native tongue. Sometimes, I wonder what my life would have been if I had a different blanket to share. 

Place(s): New York, Colombia
Year: 1988

– Michael Robinson

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child