Monday, September 15, 2014

Empty Closets

It started out simply enough.  I was just going to pack up the size six months onesies that have been largely ignored and pushed farther and farther into the labyrinth that is HT's dresser.  After that, I just started pulling out other sizes that no longer fit her; the nine months and (gulp) some twelve months.  The piles grew larger and I started smelling item after item, trying to sniff out the Dreft that I long ago stopped purchasing.

Tiny shoes and mismatched socks, swaddling blankets, burp clothes and more baby blankets surrounded me.  Some went to the goodwill pile, others I kept for a friend, and still others went into another pile.  Clothing that I couldn't bear to part with from Bean was easier to part with this time around.  It's been four years since I squeezed Bean into the stained Shake Shack onesie.  I can let that one go now.  I found myself holding onto my favorite things from HT this time, pausing to recollect the last time she wore the flowered blue dress and can I squeeze her into it one last time without physically harming her in the process?

I had boxes of bibs and baby blankets.  Did I ever think I'd use this many?  The pretty pink striped blanket covered Bean at CHOP.  The stained butterfly blanket doubled as a burp cloth and was dropped on First Avenue at least sixteen times.  Oh and that yellow blanket was a gift from Christmas when we didn't know the gender yet of HT.  The green blanket swaddled HT when she was first born and later briefly became a cape for her when she copied Bean dressing up as Princess Anna.  Can I really get rid of all this?  The answer was, I couldn't.  Not just yet.  I packed it up with other clothing and moved it to the basement.

Later I found myself in the basement, organizing more closets and moving my Container Store boxes around and emptying and refilling boxes. I came across the maternity box and sobbed,  holding my maternity-sized chef coats to my face.  Bean ran up to me and hugged me, and consoled me by saying "that's okay" and rubbing my back as far up as she could reach.  It just seemed so final packing up the maternity pillow and maternity leggings.  Piling everything into a large garbage bag and carting it off to to Goodwill would close a chapter in my life, and I'm sad because as hard and challenging and frustrating as this chapter was, it was also inspiring and beautiful.  As a pregnant woman, I was consistently amazed by my body's ability to grow and sustain life and later as a mom, I found great comfort in the quiet moments of counting tiny toes and whispering soft hushes while my hips silently rocked rhythmically back and forth.

My quiet moments are different now.  They are the five minute cuddle sessions after books with Bean when she asks me about the stars or tells me made up stories before she drifts off to sleep.  They are the bedtime nursing sessions at night when HT ambles over to the chair, points excitedly for me to sit in it and then places her head in the crook of my arm smiling until she slowly nods off to sleep.  They are the long, luxurious sleeps I get with husband snoring next to me.

Now I have an empty closet, well, mostly empty.  I dropped off three enormous bags of stuff to Goodwill.  I try to think about my baby stuff getting lovingly embraced by some new expectant mom, creating new memories for some other family.  If it was physically possible for items to contain love, hope and joy, then whomever ends up with my baby stuff will surely be blessed.  May they be as lucky in love as I've been.