I have three children, a boy and two girls. I’m done. The idea of being pregnant again makes my face contort into a horrified grimace of dismay, so when I decided to donate my son’s old clothes I was shocked by how hard it was.
A few days later a good friend of mine texted me saying she couldn’t believe our first babies were turning six and how much she missed her baby girl. I told her about what a big wuss I was because a pair of 2T grey shorts had turned me into a blubbering mass on the floor. Her response was an epiphany for me:
“It almost feels like a loss. I will never again meet 2 year old Abby. And she is awesome now, but man I miss that little girl”.
She was exactly right. The way I felt as those little grey shorts soaked up my tears, was the same emotion I’d experienced as I grieved the loss of my father not so long ago. It wasn’t the shorts, but the memory of the sweet little boy who’d worn them that brought me to my knees. The little boy who cried every day for three months when I dropped him off at daycare; the little boy who would pat other children like they were irresistible alien beings; the sweet little boy whose words were incomprehensible to everyone except me.
Nothing prepares you for the fierce intensity of the love you feel when your child is born. As your little one grows you fall in love over and over again with who they become. At the beginning the changes happen so quickly that the previous versions of themselves are a complete blur in the sheer exhaustion of being a mom. It’s only when you stop to look at pictures, watch videos or try to purge your home of things you no longer need that you come face to face with the realization that the person they were at each stage will never be with you again.
Unfortunately we can’t stop our children from growing up. But we can do our best to stop and appreciate who they are along the way. And when it comes time to donate those old clothes, don’t beat yourself up too much if a couple don’t make it out of the house. That version of the little person who wore them was the love of your life and will always hold a very special place in your heart.