Today I finally took the box of your baby clothes down from the high shelf in the guest room closet. I’ve held on to it for as long as I could. But it’s time to let go.
I open the lid, and inside, I find all of my favorite outfits of yours: what’s left of your onesies, your old sleepers, socks so tiny they look like fairy hats, and shirts I can’t believe you were ever small enough to fit into.
Now, as you toddle through the house, bumping into chairs and yelling gleefully, I try to remember those days that feel like a lifetime ago.
I pick up a soft yellow sleeper with green polka dots and remember the baby shower, all that advice, and how I would walk aimlessly through stores wondering what exactly I needed to buy before you were born. I remember the excitement and fear that ran through my veins as I realized: I was about to become a mother.
You wore these polka-dot pajamas after your very first bath. I remember how the soap mixed with your lovely newborn smell, creating the most intoxicating scent as I rocked your warm, tiny body in my arms.
Now I bring the pajamas to my face and inhale deeply. I try to remember those first few days when everything went by in a blur.
The blue shirt. The little newborn-sized blue shirt that is almost too small to bother folding. I remember what you looked like, lying on our giant bed, wearing it with only a diaper for pants. We stared at you for an hour while you slept. We imagined what you’d look like as you grew, what your voice would sound like, who you would become.
To a stranger, this is just a plastic bin of baby clothes, but to me, they were our first memories.
I’ve washed and folded them, piled them neatly on the kitchen table. They’re ready for a soon-to-be new mama who is picking them up today. She should be here any minute. Seven months pregnant and a bundle of nerves. She sounded lovely on the phone.
A tear slips down my cheek as I come to terms with your babyhood passing by so quickly. I’ve kept one sleeper as a reminder. One day when you’re six feet tall, I’ll hold that sleeper to my face and breathe in the baby you will always be to me.
Until then, another little one’s arms and legs will fill these polka-dot pajamas. A new mother will gingerly pull the blue shirt over her fresh baby’s head and rock him for hours hoping the moment will never end.
She’ll vow, like I did, to never forget. And she won’t.
I hear the doorbell. She’s here. It’s time.