On a frigid Minnesota morning, while carefully sipping on a scalding cup of spiced tea, I sat at the dining room table wrapped in comfort wearing my disheveled old house robe. Nothing says cozy like a familiar hug around the waist.

Years ago, my husband purchased a mauve-colored robe to help me through the adventures of raising our two baby daughters. Yes, they were cuddle bugs. The spills, burp-ups, cooking accidents and a mysterious smear of nail polish gave me respect as a housewife and a dedicated mother.

Not only did I immerse myself in household duties, I did it with flair! My robe has character. Its history and reminders of life’s imperfections enhance my sense of security, along with a dose of reality.

There were times when I cuddled with my kids, bringing our untrained puppy into the fold. It was clear my robe was due for a good washing. On several occasions in the dead of winter, I would grab a wrench or a screwdriver to help my husband out in the garage. Drips of grease and oil from our four-wheelers simply would not come out even after multiple spin cycles.

Family life was full, chaotic and wonderful. Our household included an assortment of other pets that kept the kids entertained and gave them responsibility. The kids raised squirmy hamsters, a guinea pig, mice, fish and a bunny to boot! The day-to-day got messy fast. Thankfully, my cozy robe softened the abrasiveness that comes with domestic little horrors.

In addition, caring for ill family members during the winter months can be an exercise in drudgery, and that’s when I appreciated my robe the most. I craved comfort during unrelenting sicknesses.

A wraparound heals when I am tired and curled up on the couch. My robe signals reassurance and soothes in times of stress.

I love wearing my grubby robe. Whether taking out the garbage, washing a load of laundry, or scrubbing out pots and pans, the old house robe can take it.

My family, on the other hand, would like me to ban it, burn it or toss it in the trash. Hey, looks aren’t everything! The thing is, I am emotionally attached to my fossil of a robe. Coming home from work or coming in from the cold, throwing on my old robe is like saying, “You’re home now. You can relax and take a load off.” I am as snug as a bug in a rug.

The years fly by. My husband has since passed away, our puppies have cataracts and my daughters are launching their way into the world. Time is like a river. Lord knows, we could all use a hug!


Sharon E. Carlson lives in Andover.