I’m sitting in James’ room and slowly going through piles of clothes to donate to a friend who is due with a little boy. My husband and I decided we are done having kids. I’m happy to help her and donate clothes that don’t fit either of my kids any longer so they may be used and loved and hold memories for another family, but letting go is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
We saved all of Connor’s clothes from when he was born until now. That’s eight and a half years worth of clothes and stains and memories that are all flooding back while I’m going through them. I kept them knowing one day we would have another child and that we could use them again.
We had no way of knowing that another child wouldn’t happen for 5 years due to fertility issues and pregnancy loss.
We were thrilled when we found out we were having James and I gladly starting organizing baby clothes and washing them and reminiscing all the things that we had experienced with Connor.
Part of my heart broke when we got to the size James is in now (18 month clothes). Connor was this size when we moved to Hawaii. When he stood unassisted for the first time. When we transitioned him from a crib to a toddler bed.
James isn’t doing any of those things, and admittedly it makes me cry… more than a little some days.
Every outfit that I pull out and get ready to set aside to give to a friend is pulling on my heart-strings. It’s reminding me that my children are growing up and that I’m not having anymore. This is forcing me to realize that I may not have grandchildren and that these clothes won’t get any more use out of them while they sit in my house.
The selfish side of me wants to keep the clothes and cut them up and make a quilt out of them or make scrapbook frames with pictures of the boys wearing these outfits and so I can remember them forever. But I don’t need to cut them up to remember them forever. Those accomplishments and memories are forever imprinted into my brain and they will never leave, no matter what happens to the clothes.
It’s hard to accept that James may never accomplish the same things his brother did, and that’s okay. It’s hard to accept that Connor isn’t my little baby anymore. It’s hard to accept that I can’t hold onto these clothes forever and, whenever I chose to look at them, have my brain snap back to the living room in Hawaii and watch Connor laugh as he falls down holding his fruit bar in his hand while standing alone for the first time. To remember him walking through the park with his cane and feeding the koi fish.
I honestly did not expect that a piece of cloth would hold so many emotions. As hard as it is to say goodbye, I know that the memories aren’t leaving. I’m allowing my friend to make memories with her children and to enjoy them as much as I have.
They are just clothes.
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