Something astonishing happened this morning.
Waking – by the fire on a mattress on the floor because it is Winter in a wooden house in Dunedin – I was handed, in my drowsy state, a brown paper package from England. A bit like pass the parcel with myself, I peeled off the layers with one hand and teeth while cradling my daughter in the other arm.
Inside was a card from the mother of one of my dearest friends and Sol’s soul-mother, Mara. Bear in mind, I have never met this lovely woman, Fi, I simply offered her some support via email as she struggled with fatigue last year.
Nestled in rustling tissue were four items of meticulously delicate handmade clothing and a letter.
‘My dear Loveday,’ it read, ‘when Mara was born, my Aunt Estelle presented me with the most exquisite wardrobe for her ‘little Flower.’ The letter continued to detail the history of making of the white dress with embroidered flowers and accompanying laced underslip, blue knitted cardigan with rosebud trim, socks to match and sun bonnet in ribboned white.
I saw the sewing circle of sisters, cousins, aunt and grandmother, heads bent over this careful and loving work in a large sunny house in Kenya all those years ago. I felt welcomed into a heritage that was not mine by blood, but by love.
And it made me realize we choose our own homes, we choose our own families, we welcome in strangers and those we have half heard of. We make an impact on the lives of others even if we have never met, even if we are already dead.
The little dress is on its hanger until Sol grows big enough and the sun turns warm enough for her to wear it. The letter is on the mantelpiece.
The shadowy figures of the women are in my heart.
Thank you, Fi. xxx