There is an item of clothing that is very important to me. When I get up in the morning the first thing I reach for is my dressing gown. I was often so tired after feeding a baby through the night I eeked out the last few minutes before I got up to get the children out to school.
While rearing a big family, there was no time to get washed and dressed first before everyone else was up. There was always a rush to get using the bathroom in the morning with so many children. I helped the younger children get ready. A wipe with a facecloth and hair brushed was sufficient to look respectable for school.
I have lived in big, older houses so the air can be chilly first thing in the morning. I like to wrap up tightly before I go to make a cup of tea. The kitchen can be the coolest part of the house unless one has the luxury of an AGA cooker. My dressing gown helped me keep warm tied tightly around my waist.
I have had different dressing gowns over the years but I’ve had two favourite ones. A friend bought me a new dressing gown for going to hospital to have my daughter Mary forty years ago. It was full length, made of silk like material, navy in colour with flowers printed around the bottom. I had it for many years. I felt quite glamorous in it. When we were in Kerry one year I mistakenly left it behind. I regretted losing that dressing gown. I wasn’t able to find another one like it since.
Ten years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer, my daughter bought me a dark pink gown made of towel fabric. I suit pink and it felt very warm and comfortable to wear. I’ve worn it these last years. I call it Pinky.
No children to get out to school now. I enjoy my garden on a sunny morning still in my dressing gown inspecting the new growth of spring time. I would be out there for hours unmindful of the time passing. I better get dressed.
My husband would be particular about what I wear. If he didn’t like something I was wearing he would soon let me know. He never commented on either of these dressing gowns. He bought me a sheepskin pair of slippers. When I saw them first I told him they are what grannies wear. I didn’t think I would wear them. In my home they are my constant footwear, so warm and soft on my feet. Pinky and the granny slippers have been a comfort to me in the cold nights and mornings.
I am often awake through the night. Sure enough my favourite dressing gown would keep me warm in my night watches. I did most of my blogging at night, prayed or worked on my mosaics. I would be caught up for hours in my workshop. Later in the morning I could be found still pottering about my kitchen, baking or cooking into the late morning still with my dressing gown on.
During the last two months Brendan and I have moved house. Initially it was quite daunting to start packing up. Two of my daughters helped during the Christmas holidays pack up some kitchen ware. Mary helped me with some of my clothes and other items in my bedroom. She was strict with me. Do you wear this? Have you worn this item this last year.? Yes I am guilty I had many dresses that were hanging in my wardrobe that hadn’t been worn for a long time. I did succumb to my daughters wishes to get rid of many items., less packing. In the following weeks I packed clothes, books, jewellery that I didn’t want to get lost in the general afray of un named boxes.
The time came nearer to the final leaving date. Two other daughters came to help pack. I was glad of their help and I left them to make decisions. I was trying to adjust to the change that was on the horizon for me. Leaving a large home with a beautiful view over Strangford Lough. I didn’t have the energy to do much packing. They did a thorough work giving up their time to help us move.
A big blessing for me was Ruth finding a ring that my husband bought for me while I was on holiday in Egypt many years ago. It was made of silver with fourteen dark stones on it, representing all my children. I thought I had lost it fifteen years ago. It meant so much to me, and I missed it. No matter what the girls did in the move after that I forgave because they found this precious piece of jewellery in a desk cabinet.
One of the casualties of the move was my pink dressing gown. It was discarded with other worn clothes. Another daughter has tried to replace Pinky with other dressing gowns she bought for me a few years back. One made me look like a polar bear. I dreaded to wear it in front of Brendan. Another was a dark full length satin gown which wasn’t comfortable around my waist. I went back to good old faithful Pinky.
It had been with me through cancer, when I was writing me book and in the night when I would be working on my mosaics.
When I spent my first night in my new home Pinky was not at hand to keep me warm in the morning. We were separated. I had left the rest of the packing to my girls to finish. Pinky became a casualty of the move. My daughters thought Its time for Mum to get a new dressing gown! Like my other favourite gown I can’t find another one like Pinky.
My girls and I joke about it. All is forgiven because Ruth found my favoite ring that I thought was lost forever. I now wear the ring on a string around my neck. I can carry my children close to my heart.
I now seek to wear a different garment , one the Lord wants me to wear.
“You are chosen by God for this new life of love, so dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”(Col 3:12,13). And where will you find that on the “High Street”?