The story of a sweater

It had a longer vacation than I did

In some of my earliest memories of my mother, she’s wearing a long, orange and cream-colored cardigan. She threw it on to keep the chill off and always had napkins and tissues in the pockets in case my brother and I ever needed them.

As an adult, I saw it in her closet at some point and she agreed to let me have it. I wore it a lot because it felt like home to me. And because it was made out of a cotton-synthetic blend, it kept its shape. You’d probably never guess it’s lived such a long life.

Beaune

Even though I loved it, I didn’t always take the best care of it. I let my dog Sassy lie on it, and it would often end up on the floor of my closet. It was kind of like a friend who’d forgive you no matter how shitty were.

It’s needed some TLC over the years (it helps to have a mother-in-law who sews!) But even when it was looking raggedy, I would still wear it, rips and safety pins and all.

I found that it was the very best thing to wear when traveling. The pockets were handy, and it was snuggly and warm and it came down past my waist so I could wear it with leggings. When my mom was dying 12 years ago, I put it on before flying from my then-home in Las Vegas to Philly (which I did frequently back then) and she smiled when she saw me in it.

And so, I while getting dressed before our trip to France earlier this month, I naturally grabbed my mom’s sweater. I wore for more than a day, finally taking it off to shower at our Airbnb in Beaune in the Burgundy region.

After it kept me warm and comfortable during my travels, I returned the favor by completely forgetting about it.

Really forgetting. Not only did I leave it at the Airbnb in Beaune, I didn’t even realize I had done so until more than a week later.

We had a long layover in Dublin, and I planned to wear it on the flight home. I looked through my suitcase and backpack at the hotel as I was getting dressed and suddenly realized I didn’t have it.

The ceiling caved in on me, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I was so upset that I didn’t even say anything to Mike at first. We were in a hurry, I picked out something else to wear, and put it out of my mind until later.

I knew it had to be at the first place where we stayed. We had both overpacked, so we had to actually mail back some of our dirty clothes from Paris to the US so we had enough room in our bags bring home a couple bottles of wine, and I know the sweater wasn’t in that box, nor did I remember seeing it at any other point.

I could freak out about it or I could just accept that things come in and out of your life and it’s just a sweater, after all.

“Maybe it decided it liked France and wanted to live there,” I told Mike. I thought that maybe some woman over there would find it and wear it while doing fabulous French things and could have a much better life than the one I had given it.

It kind of hurt to even think about how stupid and careless I had been, so it wasn’t until we had been home for a few days that I asked Mike if he’d email the Airbnb guy to find out if he found it. I felt like the answer was no, but I had to try.

The answer (no surprise) was no.

But then the next day he wrote back. They looked again and actually did find it!

I was so relieved and felt like I had won something. So. Relieved. It’s just a sweater, but it’s so much more to me than that.

The Airbnb guy shipped it to us (we reimbursed him) and the box arrived yesterday. Ahh, how amazing it felt to be reunited. I felt a rush of gratitude that we were back in each others’ lives. 

When I took it out of the box I reached into the pockets. Of course, I found the airport napkins I’d stuffed in there just in case I needed them. Wonder where I learned that?

(By the way, if you’re ever planning a trip to eastern France, stay here. I have proof that if you happen leave anything there, Ludwig would be kind enough to mail it to you.)

 

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