Letting Go

It started with the baby boy clothes. I carefully divided them into two piles: what would fit my nephew and what was too small for him. Each tiny onsie and legger brought back memories of chubby thighs and soft tummies, wobbly legs and curious hands.

Box by box they left our house, clearing much-needed space in Eddie and Charlie’s closet. I kept only a precious few items: a baptismal outfit, an Easter sweater, a onsie with a name on it.

I felt a pang, but we weren’t having anymore babies, and Alice wouldn’t wear any of those clothes. They may as well go to someone new who could use them and love them rather than sit in a closet in our house.

Then Alice started growing out of her clothes, and other than an Easter dress and a tiny pair of shoes, those were passed to my just-born-yesterday niece. I didn’t have as many feelings about those; after all, only one baby wore them and most were hand-me-downs. Those things weren’t as difficult to let go.

But now, Alice is growing out of the infant things–stuff we have had since my baby showers for Eddie seven years ago.. Items that have been a part of this stage in our life, representing the “child-bearing years”. When she grew too big for the swing, we passed it on to my brother and sister-in-law as they await their first born. That was…difficult. That swing was the first place both of my boys slept when they came home from the hospital. Alice was the only baby who loved it enough to use it often to soothe her. The swing in the corner was a symbol of the babies we were having, the expansion of our family.

It’s gone now, replaced with a jump-a-roo.

Some of our items are getting claimed before Alice has even outgrown them.  Our rock-n-play and car seat’s bundle me are going to one family, the infant tub and bounce seat to another, and the bumbo and tray to our daycare.  I love that we can give these items to people who need them and will love them like we did rather than dropping them off at Goodwill to go to a faceless family. It was also important to me to give the items to people since they were all gifted to us; making money off of them didn’t seem right to me (not that I am judging you if you sold off your stuff. That was totally my plan too, until it came time to actually do that. Then I just couldn’t).

I’m really good at purging our house of stuff; it feels good to clear out things we don’t use to make way for extra space or new things.  But this is different. It’s harder.

Last night, at bedtime, I had a mini-panic attack. I had been snuggling Alice after her last bottle and I was thinking about my new niece who had been born that day. I had also watched a video that popped up in my Time Hop of a little 4-year-old Eddie talking about what he wanted for “Cwis-mus”.

We are done with the newborn phase of our life, and every single day I am reminded that we are slowly easing into a new phase of life.

I asked Cortney, “from now on, whenever I hold a new baby, I am going to get emotional, aren’t I?”

“Yes,” he told me, “you will.”

Newborns used to remind me of what we still had coming in our future, but now they will be a nostalgic symbol of our past.

As I laid down to go to bed, I said, “Sometimes I think about all those little boy clothes I gave away to Goodwill and I panic.”

“As long as you don’t start buying replacements for them, I think that is totally normal and Ok,” Cortney reassured me in the darkness of our room.

“Heh. I won’t,” I promised just before I drifted off to sleep.

But a sadness had wrapped itself around me. Eddie’s toddler voice is gone. Charlie’s baby squeals are gone. Alice’s newborn days are gone.

Whether I like it or not–whether I am ready or not–time is moving forward and we are all growing up and older.

Letting go of the baby stuff and embracing the big kid stuff is harder on me than I thought it would be.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I completely get this. My baby is growing up and I can hardly remember what the big three sounded like when they were his age. I’m taking all the snuggles and squeezes he’s giving me. I do miss the babies, though.
    Greta recently posted…Through the Lens Thursday: BrightMy Profile

  2. ((((((((())))))))))) <3

  3. I struggled so much when my third, and last was born. I am being totally sincere when I say it took months of therapy to work through it. I finally like where we are.
    Charity recently posted…We had a Flop TodayMy Profile

  4. My kids are all well past those stages now and yet, I totally remember those same feelings about all of this. And i feel the same way about gifting things to other families and people I know rather than just giving it to Goodwill. But I also rather give it to Goodwill then sell it. I get that baby stuff costs a lot of money and life costs money but when I see people selling stuff that the kids either got for Christmas from others, or baby shower gifts, it makes me a little sad that they don’t keep on giving to families in need.
    This past summer my friend went on a mission trip to Mexico and I gave her a giant bag of baby and toddler clothes from my youngest. When she sent me pics of Mexican orphans wearing those same outfits, I cried happy tears, knowing that they were much needed and I could provide some small token of help.

  5. I wish the feeling would go, the this is it, we’re never reliving this feeling. I don’t think it ever will.
    Arnebya recently posted…Parent Party HourMy Profile

  6. I feel the same. I just have one child and am trying to have another. But my three year old’s stuff is taking up space and I think next year I will have to move on and get rid of it- very hard for me. Infertility sucks!
    Heather recently posted…That Time Milo Had A MakeoverMy Profile

  7. Like you, I gave our baby stuff away when the kids outgrew it, usually to people and places I knew (friends, family, church nursery, daycare). I found that the nostalgia grows stronger for the few things we’ve kept, which make me feel good about getting rid of it when I did. I’m not sure that if I had any of it now that I would.
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