Friday, March 13, 2020

The Satin Cream House Coat - Celebrate the Big Things and the Small Ones Too

When my mother died twenty years ago and we were going through her things we came across her satin cream colored house coat, old and yellowed with age. It even had some stains close to the hem and it didn't look like the beautiful coat I had longingly looked at so many times as a little girl. It had a quilted padded pattern and it had gold thread woven into the material. As I was typing this description here, I searched for it and I can not believe I found one on eBay. It's called a "Vintage Doris Day Sonnet Hostess Robe." It was only $38 and I had to buy it.

I think my mother won the coat in the early 1970s, when I was a baby, when she was selling Tupperware. I may have only seen her try it on once, when she was in an unusually good mood.  I would see her pull the coat out sometimes over the years and I always asked her why she didn't wear it. She always replied the same way. She told me that she put the coat away when she won it and that she would wear it when she had the kind of house she had always wanted.

She never wore the coat.

The other night I was watching "This is Us" and older Rebecca, the mother, says something that reminded me of that cream coat. (Spoiler Alert if you haven't seen the March 10 episode or if you plan to watch This is Us in general one day.)

“My life has been full of next times: things I always assumed I would get to eventually,” Rebecca said. “But now I realize that I am running out of time to do them. ... I want to spend however many good years I have left with my family. I want to try new things like walking on red carpets. I want to make up for all of my next times.” 

This really stuck a chord with me.

I turned 50 on February 11. It was the day that I go out of the hospital and I was very angry and depressed. I told everyone that I didn't want to celebrate and that in fact I wanted to pretend that I hadn't turned 50 yet. I remember telling my sister that I was angry and that I would never get February 11, 2020 back again. 

I also posted something on Facebook about waiting until the picc line was removed, and I was better,  to celebrate. A friend of mine from high school commented that every day that we are alive is a gift or celebration, something to that effect. I don't remember the exact words but I know what she meant. She received a double lung transplant around eight years ago so she has a completely different outlook on life than many of us. She is so right. 

I keep getting reminders everywhere. I was cleaning my desk at home and I came across a fortune from a cookie that I had saved. It says, "If you don't have time to live your life now, when do you?"

So true! When do I? Am I going to wait to wear the cream colored house coat my whole life?  Am I going to get to a point in my life when I realize that I'm out of time to do the things I wanted to do because I have cancer, Alzheimer's, early dementia, MS, or some other life altering illness? I hope not.

I may be 50, but it isn't too late. If anything, that's what this recent toe bone infection taught me. It was a damn wake-up call. It sounded the alarm of my life and my health. 

I skipped my birthday on February 11 because I was bitter and angry, but I can't do that again. I know that's easier to say now that the picc line is out and the stitches have been removed from my toe. I am at that point that I wanted to be and I knew all along that I would get here.

So yes, I ordered the vintage robe and I'm going to put it on and I'm going to wear it around my Grey Gardens messy house in honor of my mother. I'm not going to wait to have the perfect house, apartment or life. I'm going to wear it now. 

I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to celebrate my 50th birthday all damn year! All year is going to be a celebration of my 50th year of life. Every day from now on I'm going to celebrate still being alive. I'm going to celebrate the big things and the small ones too. 

Then I'm going to make a new list of all the things I want to accomplish and all the places I want to travel to, instead of saying "next time." 

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