One Thousand Washes – The Things We Put Away

for a tiny Pocohantas

When the seasons change, I have to swap out all of our clothes from drawers to the attic. I hear there are people who don’t have to do this. Rumor is, these people have enough room in their closets and drawers for all their clothes. If this is you, please don’t tell me until I have matured enough to like you in spite of my jealousy. Space bags have made this job easier, but I still don’t look forward to it. The clothes-swapping job was only hard physically until recently. Now it is hard on me emotionally.

I come across articles of clothing I have had for years. I’m not sure if any of them go all the way back to my oldest child, but they do go back embarrassingly far. I have become attached to some of them in a strange way. In the old days, I could put away a cute outfit, looking forward to the next child being able to wear it. I would smile to myself thinking of how cute Claire would be in that dress Grandma splurged on in Gymboree. After making sure the matching tights were in the same bag, I would put the dress away with the hope that I would use it again. That chain of cuteness has come to an end. Now I stare down into the wide-open bags and wonder what to do with these clothes I love. Some of them are toddler-sized and I can picture the chubby little stage with the puffy diaper silhouette. Others are T-shirts with VBS programs attached to them and the memory of toothless grins. Tiny jeans are almost the cutest things on the planet, with the exception of tiny shoes. If I write about the shoes, I will cry and this will get ugly.

corduroy coziness

So I have a special bag with a special place for those clothes that are so symbolic of a certain child or a certain stage. There’s a cozy corduroy dress with little bloomers that makes me think of my youngest sitting in church. I have also kept her tiny 12m Pocahontas costume, even though I know someone else could use it. I can’t part with it. I also have a T-shirt that my only boy wore for years because he

I will forever associate this shirt with this face.

wore it when it was two sizes too big and when it was two sizes too small, just like his dad likes to do. Seeing that shirt is like seeing his little face. I have some footy pajamas and a few onesies that somehow survived a thousand washes.

It does bring tears to my eyes to think about the end of the cycle for these clothes that passed their way from girl to girl to girl. Saving these clothes for my grandchildren is not too much of a reach at this point, but is that a thing? Do people do that? I will warn my oldest daughter now so she can be thinking of a way to politely decline threadbare clothes from the 90’s. My husband asked why we were keeping all the old things. I told him it was a form of birth control. Everyone knows if you get rid of all your baby things, you will get pregnant. He accepted that as if it made sense and tossed the bags into the attic. Somewhere up there is a blanket bag full of the cutest tiny shoes. Size 4 Crocs, Size 3 high-top, pink Converses, size 7 Sam and Libby’s. Yes, Sam and Libby’s. I have a problem.

I’m in the denial stage of grief, I suppose. I know that the days of little ones have passed but I can’t let go. Passing the clothes on feels so final and I’m in a delicate transition. Time has a way of bringing reality into focus. Until then, I will hang on to the items that connect me to the happiest time of my life so far; the time spent raising His child.

5 thoughts on “One Thousand Washes – The Things We Put Away

  1. I can totally relate. I’ve saved some baby things that I just can’t part with like the 6 month old raider outfit, My oldest is getting married in May, but he just told his younger sisters they may have to wait awhile for a neice or nephew! Me- “WHAT!? What do you mean WAIT?” Anyway, at this point we are looking into adoption. At 46, I’m just not ready to be done being a mom.

    • I also have a child getting married in May and she says they are waiting. I had the same reaction. I am holding out hope that God will intervene in their decision to wait.

  2. Wow Romelle. Not sure how I missed reading this post, maybe because God knew I needed it now. I’m not ready to move on from the “little ones” stage. This post hit the nail on the head. It has never bothered me before to put books away, I always knew I would get to read them again with Ali. With her moving on it all seems so final. Really not sure where to go from here. Thanks for understanding.

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