When I was 10 years old, our grade 5 class was supposed to spend the week skiing at what was then Paskapoo for a week (it later became Canada Olympic Park or COP, later Winsport). Unfortunately for me I got sick, and not just a little sick – fever so bad I remember getting delirious and I couldn’t eat or drink anything for days. I remember mom feeling so bad for me because she knew how much I had wanted to go skiing, and now that I’m a parent I’m guessing she was a little concerned as well.
On one of my super sick bed days Mom came into my room with a box I’d never seen before. She had a gleam in her eye and she told me this was one of her most treasured pieces and she wanted to let me play with it for the day. It came with a ton of warnings about how delicate it was and how playing was going to look more like touching gently, but her excitement was contagious and I was excited to see what was in the box.
She opened it, and it was a lead toy replica of the Queen’s coronation carriage. Made even more special was the fact Mom told me it was a gift to her while she was in the hospital – and even then I knew we never, ever spoke of the hospital – so this was a big deal.
In my memory this was the turning point in my flu sickness. I remember lying in bed with the carriage on my lap, spending hours looking at the details and the horses and wishing I was the Queen. Of course at this time Lady Diana was just making herself known to me and although I had no idea I was about to enter years of adoring Diana and the royal family.
And then the carriage got boxed back up and I never saw it again. It was never mentioned again, and I figured maybe it had been misplaced or broken or was just buried with other treasures. After all this time I’d given up on it.
This afternoon while I was rage cleaning my room (it’s a thing) I climbed up the step ladder to bring some of dad’s awards and frames down from the top of the bookcase. Guess what was on the top of that stack of things? The carriage!!!
I have to admit I sat down and cried for a little while. The 5th anniversary of mom’s death was 2 days ago and there have been so many emotions I don’t know how to describe them. But seeing this carriage was like getting a little hug from heaven.