by Becky Van Vleet
I was devastated when my dear mother left earth for heaven when I was only 23 years old. My husband and I had not yet celebrated our second anniversary. I felt so cheated. I will never forget the day my daddy asked me and my sisters to go through our mother’s clothes and make decisions as to what to do with them. That was one tough day. Some items we donated, some we kept and made individual claims for keepsakes. I ended up with my mother’s old pink satin robe. It already had a couple of buttons missing and some dangling threads from the satin quilting. I can’t recall why I claimed this robe. But I did save it in a drawer for almost 40 years.
One day not so long ago, I took it out for my granddaughters to play dress-up with it. And my heart nearly burst with joy as I watched that old pink robe become a part of dress up time with our granddaughters when they played in our home. With age and play, it is now quite tattered. I have had to do a number of repairs on the robe. It’s much too large for them, yet they love the long length and the feel of the satin. The memories of my own mother wearing that robe around the house on cold days remain etched in my mind.
To keep the robe as a “special item” in my home, it hangs in my closet on a special hook. It is not out with the other dress-up play clothes. I am delighted when my granddaughters say, “Nana, I’m cold, can I wear your mother’s robe?” I dash to my closet to grab it off the hook for them. And if more than one granddaughter happens to be in our home at the same time, settling disputes is not uncommon for who gets to wear it. Oh goodness, I never dreamed of this!
Why did I save this old robe? At the time I did not know why I even wanted it. But today it is quite clear. I have beautiful memories attached to the robe as my granddaughters scamper around, wearing it in play or if they are “cold”! I see my beautiful mother. And that’s priceless.
Grandmas, moms, aunts, sisters, and friends, hang on to a clothing item or quilt or doll or any keepsake you can pass along to the next generation, your children or your grandchildren. The item may not seem significant at the time, but it can be years later. Tell the story attached to the item. Create a memory. Treasure the memory. That old pink robe brings me so much joy today.