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.