Ten years ago I moved in with one yummy daddy, to his mother’s house, just so we could save for a deposit for a home of our own.
This was when we were young and full of adventure, having kids was a lifetime away,( the only thing I’d plan for was my outfit and where we were going on a Friday night.)
A real character, that’s the best way to describe my mother in law! Her door always open and kettle on, with a knack
(some would say talent) for finding an odd bargain, and unusual item. Be it from the market or a charity shop or even a little unknown boutique.
I was in the kitchen one day and she came booming in the door with the most beautiful red Christmas coat and bonnet for a toddler aged 3 to 4. There were no kids in the family at the time (and it could have been July) we both just fell in love with it. We were trying to think of someone to give it to and the suggestions were flying, but I kept wondering would they love it as much as we did?
In the end, she said to me, you keep it, keep it up somewhere safe, you never know, you could have a girl someday yourself.
I thought about it (for about a second) and agreed.
We also agreed it was better not to tell one yummy daddy ( I didn’t want to scare the living daylights out of him, the ring wasn’t even on my finger so kids were a few years away all right).
A few months passed and we finally got the keys to our first home, when I was unpacking I put the coat and bonnet in a bag on top of my wardrobe. I took it out now and again and contemplated on giving it to one of the nieces that came along over the years, but didn’t have the heart to let it go..
In 2010 we got married (in Vegas with all the family there with us) No sooner was the ring on my finger then my mum in law would joke about the coat and when was I going to get down to the matter of grandchildren.
Three years later, sure enough, I fell pregnant!!! I was having a girl. My mother in law was delighted with the news just like the rest of the family. I would call up to her every Wednesday morning during my pregnancy, for a cup of tea and an egg in a cup. We would chat and laugh about everything and nothing at the same time. She’d put my recliner up and stick on an old movie, sometimes we would even have a snooze because the house was so cosy. (and we felt so at ease in each others company )
One Wednesday morning I called and she wasn’t there, I gave her a quick ring, and no answer.
Very strange I thought, as the day unfolded I discovered in shock and devastation she had taken a stroke. How can this happen to a women who so full of laughter and life? Her health deteriorated in the coming months and as we brought our own special lady into the world, we had to day goodbye to another special lady in her. One as important as the other.
She passed away two months after our girl born.
Christmas is such a time of joy mixed with sadness for so many families. My mother in law loved Christmas and she would be so proud of our girl in the red coat and bonnet today. She wears it so well and knows its gift from Nanna B in heaven. Everywhere she goes in it people have stopped us and told us how beautiful she is in it, asking me where I got it, saying it is just made for her. Keeping Nanna B at the heart of the conversation, exactly the way she would want it and exactly the way it’s meant to be.
By Jolene Cox
****3 years gone today, You are always in our thoughts, I dedicate the story of the red coat to you ****