After a whole summer and fall wearing the same lululemon leggings, top and cardigan, I was wondering if I’d really have to succumb to buying you. Would you be worth the expense of needing you for only a measly two months? Maybe I could get away with leaving my old winter coat unzipped and using a cozy scarf like Mr. Kravitz?
I had been living in California for the past five years. I didn’t really remember what “winter” meant in the Midwest. Yes, I had seen the news of the polar vortex last year from my sunny living room while wearing my ridiculous Uggs because it was like, 60 degrees out and felt a little “chilly” in the apartment.
I decided to tentatively search for you on a brisk day at the end of October when the zipper in my XS puffy coat finally gave up the struggle to operate. It was around 40 degrees and I was cold. And scared. Because I knew that soon it would be 45 degrees LESS than what, at the time, felt cold enough.
Still feeling stubborn, I decided to go the craigslist route with buying you. I didn’t need a $150 winter maternity coat. I didn’t think you were worth it. So I spent a few days scouring the “for sale” section, sheepishly searching “winter maternity coat” with a few paltry results in the wrong sizes showing up here and there, but disappearing just as quickly.
Then you appeared. A size 4 Gap puffy jacket. In the grossest, weirdest grey/green/brown color. You were priced at $25. I emailed your owner and began the somewhat dubious, sketchy, always skeptical process of hooking up with a craigslist buyer. The mistrust, the “are you for real”, the “are you someone who I should be meeting at a public location” sussing out, the “will you actually show up because I’ve been burned twice this last weekend” question, the hiding behind an anonymous email address before you finally get a cell number to “text when you’re close and I’ll come outside” god forbid we exchange names or see each other’s private living quarters. After a week or so of back and forth and figuring out when we could make the exchange, which now seemed as difficult and forbidden and spontaneously organized as a first-time college nickel bag pick-up, we had a meeting place and time. There had been so much back and forth that I forgot if your price was $20 or $25. I texted your owner who told me it was $25. I only had a $20 on me, so I could go pull out another $20 at the bank. Did she have change? No. Ok, I thought, still semi-annoyed that was even making this temporary, unfashionable monstrosity of a clothing purchase, how about I give her $20 and we call it a deal? Nope. $25, and she just procured $15 from her husband for change. This was starting to feel like too much effort.
I parked on the crowded Lincoln Park street with my hazards on, and the “I’m here!” text that sent you down to me. Your owner was pleasant and all business, and I threw you on as if you had always been in my closet. You looked brand new, covered my butt, and fit my expanding belly perfectly.
You still do. You still do maternity winter coat that I have grown to love and depend on.
Yes, you’re big, you have a nondescript muddy color, and are ugly as hell. I’ve spilled so much crap down my front that has been caught on the belly area of your facing, and my mom says I look like a mushroom when I have you on, but you’ve been worth every penny. I would’ve paid more for you if asked. You’ve been functional. You still fit so well even though I’m 40 weeks +1 day and am drawing stares everywhere I go (seriously, something happened this last week…every person, ALL THE PEOPLE, can’t help but ask me when I’m due and comment, and “ooooo” and “ahhhh” with wide eyes and open mouths…my body is screaming “HAVING A BABY ANY DAY NOW!!!”). And this morning, when I saw the temps (-3. Yes, NEGATIVE THREE) and thought, “hey, I’m going to try and squeeze into my old winter coat that I know is more technical and warmer than this used GAP coat” and almost threw up because of the squeeze and compression and could feel my baby squirm as if asking me “what in the hell?”…I put you back on and sighed at your comfortable fit, your warm embrace, and you know what? I was toasty, damn toasty, as I made my way to the icy car.
I was wrong to judge, to question your need. I underestimated your extreme value and you know what winter maternity coat? I think I might even wear you POST partum, until the temperature warm up again. And when the time comes to bid you adieu, I will write you the most amazing craigslist add and find you an owner deserving of your worth.