Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Anthropologie and the Mother-in-Law I Never Met

It was November 24, 1988, RP (the hubs) was 16 and in a swim meet that would decide whether he could compete for Wales and qualify to train for the Barcelona Olympics. Not wanting to tell him, his father tried to hide his sadness as he met RP in the locker room shortly before the meet. RP knew something was wrong and probably knew instinctively what it was. He convinced his father to say was her...she was gone.

She passed away that day of ovarian cancer that she had been battling for the past few months. RP swam that race for her and won. Unfortunately, it was decided by the family that olympic schooling was not the plan for RP. A mother and a dream were lost that day.

Her name was Katharine, Kay, for short. Our daughter's middle name is Katharine after her. Although I was not fortunate enough to meet her, the stories and memories told about Kay are numerous and full of love. I almost feel, at times, like I lost a mother-in-law, like I missed out on knowing a very special person. In the 60's and 70's, Kay and RP's dad lived in Colorado with dual citizenship as teachers. They helped start the first Outward Bound program in the U.S. and were avid climbers and outdoorsmen. Adults loved her, children loved her, animals loved her and RP loved her.

RP's dad has since remarried to an old college sweetheart that both he and Kay knew at Cambridge University in Great Britain. J is a wonderful woman and a great mother-in-law, but RP's dad still admits that Kay was the love of his life. The void is present, the pictures of her that light the room are still around and a son misses his mother.

As I peruse and window shop on Anthro's website, I keep coming across a gingham blouse that to the average looker may appear to be the typical blue/white gingham button-down. I look to the right of my monitor and there she is..smiling with RP's dad as they cross-country ski in the Colorado wildnerness, lighting up the room. She is wearing an almost identical blouse. Should I get it, I ask her? You obviously like it. Will RP think I'm crazy taking fashion cues from his mother, a woman that's been gone for almost 23 years? I hope not, but the verdict's still out.

Dad and Kay, Colorado 1962

Cissus Button-Up Gingham Blouse - Anthropologie


  1. What a wonderful, beautiful story - I love that Katharine is so present in all of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you Tracy! She was a beautiful person and I wish I could've known her. Luckily, I get to hear about her and see her happy face often!