I received the most beautiful bathrobe I had ever seen when I was ten years old. My Christmas gift was made of chenille. Chenille is a material that consists of soft little tufts of fabric that are punched into a backing that makes up the garment. Primarily pink, my bathrobe had edging of blue on the sleeves and the pockets.
One day I discovered that if I pulled on the tufts, they came out of the fabric. I placed the tufts into a drawer next to my bed. As my tufts of chenille began accumulating, I called them “pinkies” and “blueies”. I loved the way they smelled; I ran my fingers through them. As I systematically pulled the tufts out of the fabric, the bathrobe began displaying long rows of holes where the tufts had been. It looked just as beautiful to me, but my mother did not see it that way.
When I hadn’t quite removing all of the tufts, we left for a camping trip. My mother was in charge of packing the clothes. I asked her for my bathrobe when we got to the campground. She told me it was in the garbage can at home; she had thrown it out! I was horrified and outraged. I had trusted her to protect my robe.
I might have mentioned my sense of betrayal a few too many times over the following years. My mother was never able to apologize or admit to making a mistake; this was not part of her personality or upbringing by her British/Irish parents. I might have stopped bringing it up if she had apologized.
My mother gave me a chenille bathrobe when I was in my 30s. (It too had tufts but they were sewn in place and I could not remove them. I tried.) She told me that we were done with the subject of my chenille bathrobe; this was it. Belatedly, I realized that I had been hurting her each time I shared my grief over my lost bathrobe. And so I stopped and let go of the subject. My Christmas gift bathrobe – may it rest in peace.
- Have you hurt someone by throwing away a prized possession?
- Have you hurt someone by not letting go of a subject?
- What do you need to let go of?
Pat Iyer is president of the Pat Iyer Group LLC