There are a lot of chores around the house that I hate to do. Some of them are smelly (like scooping kitty cat poops or taking out the garbage), others are sweaty (like scrubbing the bathtub or carrying the laundry up the approximately 268 stairs in our townhouse), and many are just tedious and boring (dusting – ugh). As much as I despise all of these jobs though, I think I’d choose any of them over the only one that consistently leaves me a weepy, sobbing mess, before, during and after its completion. What task could possibly be so treacherous, you may ask? I know you’re dying to find out the ins and outs of my chore schedule so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. At the risk of coming across as a hoarder (I promise I’m not), I will openly admit that I loathe going through my son’s closet and packing up all of the adorable clothes he has outgrown since he was born.
Before Beckett arrived, one of our favourite things to do was to shop for the sweet little outfits we imagined him one day growing into and modelling as we squired him about town. After bypassing the glitter and lace explosion in the gigantic girls’ section, we’d find our way into the shadowy corner of the measly, truck and dinosaur infested boys’ department (more on this in a future post) where we’d spend generous amounts of time carefully selecting the trendiest pieces of clothing we could find for our future son. As our due date inched closer, our friends and family gifted us the sweetest sleepers, hoodies, pants, and shoes, and we excitedly hung them in the nursery closet, organized them by color and season, and waited for our baby to be born.
When I first dressed my 9 pound, 1 ounce newborn, I was surprised to find that the tiny sleeper we had brought to the hospital was absolutely enormous on him. The beautiful little knit beanie we received after his arrival would barely stay on his head. He was hardly more than a speck in his gigantic carseat. I had never seen or held anything so tiny and delicate in my entire life and couldn’t believe that I could finally touch and kiss the life that I had helped to create.
Each outfit that we, our family, and our friends, so specifically chose for this boy has been special. Each piece of clothing was worn in a moment that has been incredibly significant to us as parents, and one day Beckett will be able to look back on photographs of these moments and hear stories of the days he’ll never remember, but hopefully will feel in his heart. I’ll never forget the onesie that B wore on the day he came home with us for the very first time, or the little tuxedo shirt he wore to my in-law’s wedding. I will always remember the sleeper he wore when his great grandpa held him for the first time and how this precious moment was made all the more memorable when B had a diaper explosion of absolutely epic proportions in great grandpa’s arms.
I know exactly what Beckett wore for his first picture with Santa, his first trip to the pumpkin patch and his first Easter. I remember the plaid shirt and skinny jeans he wore when I dressed him up like Stu for his surprise 30th birthday party. I’ll always be able to hear the “awwwws” he got from many a little old lady while wearing his newsboy cap and suspenders at Harry Potter World the day he turned 9 months old. The little felt crown his grandma made for his first birthday will always be special to me, even though it was all we could do to get him to keep it on for pictures that day. I will always love the handmade shoes that my auntie and cousin brought him all the way from Thailand, his slippers from Guatemala, and the beautiful leather moccasins he was given to celebrate his Metis heritage. Even the outfits Beckett has worn on “ordinary” days bring back such happy memories when I look at them.
might be am definitely over dramatizing the experience, but there is something about the process of storing each piece of tiny clothing away on a shelf in the garage that just overwhelms me. I know that there will always be new pairs of jeans, new shoes, and new T-Shirts for Beckett to wear, and I also know that there are so many more important things in life than the clothes that we wear and grow out of. I know that many families face far more difficult challenges in life than putting old sweatpants and onesies in boxes or selling them on Kijiji. I know that we are incredibly blessed that our boy is growing every day as he should, and I am very thankful for this. But still. It’s hard.
I think what makes the whole thing challenging for me is that it feels like such a physical representation of something so intangible – the passing of time. As I take each item off of its hanger to store it away, I feel like I’m holding a memory in my hands. When they’re still hanging in the closet, those moments haven’t disappeared yet. I can still try to squeeze Beckett into a pair of his old jeans, keep him little for one more day, and hang on just a tiny bit longer. But when they have to go away into a box, the memories have slipped that much further away.
As we get into the busy rhythm of life, the days pass quickly without us really noticing. Before we know it, the 0-3 month season has slipped through our fingers and we’re on to the next. Soon, our babies can wear cooler jackets and fancier shoes, but when they’ve outgrown the swaddles and scratch mitts that once seemed so big, those days will never come again. As I hold each piece of clothing, I remember many of the milestones we reached and left behind while it was being worn. Part of me hopes that there will be another baby boy in our future so we can re-wear each piece, reliving old memories and creating new ones in them as well. The other part of me wishes I wasn’t attaching so much meaning to a T-Shirt and could just pack these things into a box and move on.
Either way, this is where I’m at right now, hugging shirts and sweaters one more time before I pack them up into their plastic container, and squeezing Beckett just a little bit tighter before I put him in his crib.