A door stands to the left of our kitchen entryway. It opens to a small closet of a room, empty but for a single tall bookcase at the back. The bookcase is filled, but not with books. Each shelf is home for a handful of unique and beautiful hats. My collection is already extensive, and each year I add several more.
My hand reaches automatically to the middle shelf, but as I do I accidentally knock a hat from the shelf just above. It falls to the floor and I stoop to pick it up. I brush it off and look fondly at the woven straw brim. It is simple, but elegant—trimmed in ribbon and flowers. Proper, but still spunky, it reminds me of white dresses, summer days and church picnics.
I gently return my church hat to the top shelf, and as I do the one beside it catches my eye. It’s completely white and styled complements of the 50’s. It looks brand new, but I know daily wear has left it even more comfortable than the first day I tried it on. A white feather floats on one side, and netting swoops over the front like a veil. This is one of my favorite hats, maybe because it reminds me of the day I brought it home—my wedding day.
A soft smile touches my lips, but I must continue on to the hat I came for. It’s one of the newest hats in my collection, but also shows the most wear. I lift it off the shelf and eye it critically. A spitup stain peeks out of one side, and is that a pickle smear on the other? I've only owned this hat for eight months, but I love it. It’s the hat I was given the day my daughter was born.
There is no time to linger over the other hats, although many are well worn and well loved. My daughter peers into my little room, wondering where her playmate has gone. I lift the final hat and place it on my head. For the next few hours I am mommy.
Written in January as part of my husband's 30 Days of Writing Prompts. He will be publishing the book next month, so stay tuned for more!