Saturday, March 13, 2010
Stuck in Jelly
Sometimes I have days where I wonder what hit me. I wake up feeling fine but by midday, I'm a mess. Today was just such a day.
For the last year or so, I've been thinking about the massive amounts of baby clothes that we've stored for the past 6 or so years. I ended up saving 5 large bins full of LJ's gently used clothing so that we would have them for "the next one." Well, obviously we've hit a bit of a bump in the road. Still, it's been an incredibly difficult thing to even think about. Each outfit holds such significance for me.
Finally, I mustered up the nerve to make the drive the the storage unit and fish out the many totes. One of my SILs is expecting her first baby- a girl - in May and I figured I'd offer them to her to help out. As I sat in my living room Thursday night sorting through the piles of pink fabric, I was astonished at how much I remembered about each outfit. When I'd find a stray pair of pants, I could remember exactly what top they went with. I remembered which items were given to me as gifts (and by whom), and I easily recalled which items were the first I had purchased for our soon-to-be baby girl. I reflected on the many excited shopping trips I made with DH, where we shopped, and which outfits we bought from each place. It was so bittersweet for me. Looking at all of these clothes helped me remember so many things that I had forgotten, and yet it made my heart hurt so much more to know that all of these experiences are some that I may never have again.
Although I had meant to save only a couple of items, I ended up keeping one of the larger totes - nearly full, because I couldn't bear to part with them. I couldn't help but think that maybe a piece of her babyhood is snugly resting within the intermingled threads of each onsie, dress, and outfit. I kept a particular pair of pajamas, labeled 3-6 months because I remembered putting her in it after an evening bath. Although the true aroma has long since faded, I swear I could smell baby lotion when I placed it near my face. I kept a pile of printed onsies because I remembered that they were the first things that I washed and placed in her dresser, weeks before she was born.
I even kept the darling little pink jelly shoes that I received at a baby shower... even though she never fit in them. I thought about opening the gift bag that they came in, and pulling out the soft "Mommy loves me" bib that accompanied them and then reaching in to find the shoes. They were so tiny! I thought about how my baby would look in them, and how I was sure to get so many comments on how adorable she was, and "would you just look at her shoes?!?" When I got them home, I proudly displayed them on top of the baby organizer next to the bottles of baby wash and lotion. Each time I entered the room, I would look at those shoes, and each time I'd get a little more excited to meet my precious daughter. I simply couldn't bear to give them away.
This afternoon I met with my SIL, J and sat with her as she selected which items she'd keep for her baby. She could barely reach over her swollen tummy to pick up the tiny clothing from within the bins - exactly how I was at my baby shower. I want so badly to experience that again. Watching her progress, with almost the exact same time line (She is due 4 days after LJ's birthday) as I did is even harder for me. It makes it easier to remember exactly how I was feeling at this stage.
The eagerness was overwhelming as the temperature got warmer and my due date got closer. I still remember feeling a gentle breeze and the sunshine on my skin as I walked into the hospital, on Mother's Day to deliver LJ. It's the same thing I think about each spring. The memory is almost crippling now. I wish I would have taken the time to remember such details throughout my pregnancy.
It is so hard to let go. For me, much of today was like admitting defeat. I don't know if I will ever accept that this may be it. That the only babies I will ever hold from here on out, will never be my own. This whole thing is entirely consuming. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of what we are missing in our lives. The guilt from these thoughts is almost crushing. We have so very much to be thankful for, and we are surrounded by blessings. I am beyond humbled to know that for whatever reason, we have LJ. She is amazing, brilliant, funny, charming, witty, kind, and an overall delight to be around.
It's just that those adorable pink jellies may remain unused forever. And I don't know if I can live with that.