Posted by: allisonwonder | March 25, 2010

Putting It All away

Last night I pulled all the boxes of baby clothes down from the shelf in Isaac’s closet. There were only a few left; between what got completely ruined and what was still OK but not worth keeping for friends (and that we donated to Value Village), plus what we’ve already sent to our friends, there were about 4 diaper boxes full in there.

The box I mailed to friends in NL last week had a lot of the important stuff- nice-looking clothes that were still in excellent condition, many things my favourites from when my babies were actually babies. Stuff I wouldn’t have given to just anybody.

The first box that’s back in the closet now is stuff I’m saving for when my brother and his wife-to-be decide to have a baby. They have a daughter already, and I assume they still have baby clothes left, but if the next one’s a boy, he might not appreciate having future girlfriends seeing pictures of him wearing his sister’s pink and purple Dora jammies. So in that box we have my favourite little knit outfit Ike wore as a newborn and a couple of footie jammies, plus a few older-baby things: the outfit that Ike wore to his Daddy’s RCMP graduation (SO freaking cute!), the navy blue pea coat the boys both wore the winter they were a year old, a few similar things.

There’s one more box still up there. It’s about half-full with the stuff I can’t bear to get rid of. Most of it is stuff both the boys wore when they were very small, things that make me get all teary when I look at them.

Have you seen those TV shows, like “Clean Sweep” (and I assume 100 others), where they go into people’s houses to clear out their clutter? I know what they’d tell me about those things. I’d say, “there are just so many memories!”, getting all weepy, and they’d say, “But won’t you still have those memories without the THINGS? You memories are in your mind…” blah, blah, blah, etc. etc.

That’s not entirely true, at least not for me. My memory’s not great, and it wasn’t even before the boys came along and gave me the Mommy-brain. It was pretty good at one time, but Depression seems to have destroyed it (it was once so bad I couldn’t remember to go to regular classes, or the difference between Boleslav and Coleslaw in Eastern European history). I’ve learned to write everything down, from appointments to journal entries that remind me that not every day was the same as the one before or after it. Pictures help me remember things we did, details about those days, what Simon’s smile looked like when he was 6 months old. But those things don’t bring the feelings back. Pictures don’t remind me what it felt like when my boys were small enough that one could lie with his head on my shoulder and his little diaper-clad butt resting in one of my hands, or the way their hair smelled after a bath. The journal entries rarely capture what it was like to lie on the bed with a sleeping baby on me, how it felt to rub my hand up and down their backs, so tiny under those soft terry-cloth jammies. The jeans with the uneven wear on the knees are the only thing that really remind how funny Ike was before he was walking, when he hitched around the house, pulling himself with one leg, dragging the other. When I see and touch those few old things, I remember.

And yes, it makes me sad. When Simon was little-but-getting-bigger, I felt that way and wanted another little baby. I enjoyed seeing Simon growing up and would never have traded bigger Simon for little baby Simon, but I wanted to do it again with his little brother or sister. I don’t feel that way now. I don’t want another baby, and I can’t say I miss everything about the early days- the cuddles were so nice, but I can do without the painful feedings, the up-the-back diaper explosions, and the nights when I was waking up every 3 or 4 hours. I know I won’t be doing it again, but it still breaks my heart knowing that my boys will never be that small again- th0se days are really gone forever. I enjoyed every minute of them that I could, but even that doesn’t keep them from slipping away. I will continue to enjoy seeing my boys getting bigger, learning who they are as they grow up, discovering new things to enjoy… but I’ll always wish I could reach for the pause button on life, just for a while.

That stuff won’t sit in a closet forever. One of these days, when I have time (probably around the same time I finally get to work on our family scrap-book and plant a real garden), I’ll cut the clothes up and make a quilt for myself- just a little one I can keep to remind me. Maybe by then it won’t even make me cry.



  1. Oh my sweetheart…I would love to help you with the quilt. I have often thought that I would love to go back in time, and live one day of babyhood with you, and one with Michael, so I could truly go back and appreciate what I had, and remember how you smelled and felt. When you are living it, you have those lovely moments, but you are worrying about dinner, and diapers, and finances, and so many other things. I relived so much of the joy through Simon, Isaac and Noah….but one day to hold my babies again would be such a joy.
    Don’t worry about the box of clothes. Keep it for as long as you need to…..And enjoy every minute with Ozzie and Paul! 🙂 You have the blessing of realizing how precious every minute is…some parents just want these days over with, and miss so much! You are such a good mommy! I am so proud of you!
    Love Marmee xoxoxoxoxoxo

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