When I was little I spent a lot of time with my Nan and one of my favourite games was playing dress up with her clothes. Not that she ever knew about it though. I would wait for her to nod off on the sofa, which she always did, then I would creep upstairs to play.
She had two wardrobes. One for her everyday clothes and one for best. A whole wardrobe full of amazing clothes that she never used to wear. I could never understand why she would want to wear the same old clothes day in, day out when she had this wardrobe full of high heels, fur coats, sequins, lace and satin? I never got the whole saving for best thing.
I used to hobble around in her high heels and I can still see them in my mind now in all their vintage gorgeousness. Amazing clip-cloppy heels and T-bars. Patent leathers and the tiniest of delicate buckles. Her dancing shoes she used to call them. Nan used to say that her dancing days were over so the poor shoes were now hidden away at the bottom of the wardrobe. But I always felt so sorry for those poor shoes. And the beautiful clothes. Even the slightly scary fox fur stole with its black beads for eyes and long bushy tail. Why have so many beautiful things if you couldn’t enjoy them?
I wear my best jewellery every single day. I spray on my favourite and most expensive perfumes, even to bed. I put on my favourite dress even if I know that I won’t be going any further than outside to the bin that day. And it’s not just when it comes to clothes that I take this stance. I don’t save my best teacups in case the Queen pops in for afternoon tea either and I take great pleasure in lighting those ridiculously expensive candles. Where is the fun in saving things for best? How do you define the whole best thing anyway? I choose to take pleasure from all of these small things e v e r y s i n g l e d a y.
I loved my Nan to bits. I really really did. And I still miss her lots every single day. But I can’t help but wonder what she would think of me as a fully fledged grown up. On one hand, I don’t think she would approve of the way that I never save anything for best. Because I don’t. I am the complete opposite of her in that respect. In fact I can hear her tutting at me and see her shaking her neat grey curls as I type these very words. She would think that I was frivolous. Maybe I am. But is that such a bad thing? On the other hand, I can’t help but think that the girl she once was, the one who wore fur coats and went out dancing every night, would secretly smile at my giddy ways.
Wearing my favourite clothes. Smelling my favourite perfume. Wearing my sparkliest diamonds. Drinking Earl Grey in my most treasured cup and saucer. All of these small things make me feel very lucky to have the life that I have. I am enjoying the life that I have. And I take great pleasure in all of these small extravagances.
The truth is, I never have understood the whole saving things for best thing, not even as a child. But I think losing her made me think that even more. Life is so very precious. And sometimes all too short. She taught me that. And in fact teaches me that every day when she is no longer here to tut at me. So thank you Nan for making me see that everyday can be the best. Because it can be, you know. And it is.