The first time we went through the babies’ clothes to weed out what didn’t fit anymore – some to give away to charity, other’s to store for the next baby(ies?) – I cried. I lifted each outfit with reverence – J’s coming home outfit; N’s “old man” shirt; J’s only outfit that actually fit her teeny frame – the one with the frogs on the feet; N’s outfit we put him in after his first bath the day we brought him home after his 12 days in the NICU. Every outfit was a representative of how fast they were growing. Many of the items went to a very good home. Our nanny’s sister was pregnant with a boy and wasn’t able to afford too much for him – and I knew she needed N’s clothes much more than we did.
This is what you do when you have kids. They grow out of things, whether clothes or toys, and you throw them out, you donate them, you store them, you loan them to other people you know having kids. You make a conscious choice. You have to, because otherwise the sheer magnitude of STUFF would take over your house.
Since that first time, we’ve gone through the kids clothes and toys a multitude of times – and I never cry anymore. Mostly it’s fun, because you reminisce about how cute or little they were when they wore some outfit and it makes you all warm and fuzzy.
Tonight was not warm and fuzzy. Tonight, something that was loaned to us when I got pregnant got taken away. I know that’s totally dramatic sounding, and the reality is of course it’s not all that bad. But I’m sad, and it may be silly, but I am.
About a year and a half ago, our next door neighbors decided out of the blue that they were going to move across the country to a state and town they not only had never lived before, but had never even visited. They chose it because one of their mothers had heard on O.prah that it was a good place to live. A few months prior, just before the twins were born, they gave us their glider rocker and ottoman to use in the nursery. “I’m not having any more kids,” T told me, “so I won’t be using it anymore.”
When they decided to move, she told us we could hang on to the glider, and maybe if her brother or someone needed it in the future she’d let us know, but not to worry. That was 15 months ago. And while we were never under the assumption that it was ours to keep, after 19 months it’s become part of our nursery landscape. So when T called last week and told H that her brother had a new baby and wanted the glider, I became very sad. This chair, this borrowed piece of furniture, held me while I rocked a colicky N for hours. It held me while I nursed J in the early morning hours. And more recently, it’s held me every night while I read to the twins before bed.
And tonight, there’s a giant empty space where it sat.
I know, it really wasn’t mine to begin with. I get that. And truth be told, it was ugly and I never would have bought it myself. But it holds sentimental value for me. And it wasn’t my choice to give it up. I think that’s the hardest part for me. Because when you give away clothes or toys or whatever, you make a conscious choice to do so. But this wasn’t my choice. And I’m just sad to see it go.