I’ve had “go through Ella’s baby stuff” on my to do list for about six months. I meant to do it before we moved in July, because it seemed crazy to move with a bunch of disorganized baby boxes.
But of course, the actual packing and moving took precedent and I never got around to it. And things have been just a little chaotic since then.
So it wasn’t until this morning after Ella’s dance class, with my sister there as back up, that I finally dragged my poor husband around the attic to point out which boxes needed to be lugged downstairs.
Spoiler alert: it was A Lot of boxes. He’s a good sport.
There was a box of stuff just related to feeding – bottles and attendant parts from maybe four different brands and styles, bits and pieces from my breast pump, nipple shields (ACK! WHY DID I SAVE THESE) from the first month or so of my horrible breastfeeding experience.
One nice thing about doing this the second time around is that I know what works for us. The new baby might have other ideas, but at the very least we know there are some bottles we can just skip past. It feels pretty good to go through and weed out things that I know won’t be useful.
But it’s hard to weed out much when every single item has a memory or ten attached to it.
The Christmas PJs Ella was wearing the first time she smiled.
The bright green cardigan that made her blue eyes even brighter. She wore it everywhere.
The little striped hat with the ears that she wore the first time we took her to our favorite restaurant, just a few days old.
The only newborn sleep set that was small enough for her tiny self to wear home from the hospital, the one she wore during her first few waking hours. We propped her up in Jon’s lap in the reclining chair next to my hospital bed. Time stopped while I watched those two staring at each other. She’s been daddy’s girl from literally day one.
I don’t know where that baby went. At dance class today she looked like she was ready to jump into Swan Lake. She’s so tall, and I can already see how graceful she’ll be when she grows into those limbs. I can’t believe that girl was once too small for her coming home outfit, and neither can she.
“See, Ella?” I said, holding a tiny white onesie up to my belly. “This is how little you were when you were born. Can you believe it?”
She eyes me suspiciously. “Is this how big our baby will be?”
“Probably,” I tell her.
“Ohhhh,” she sighs. “I can’t wait to share all these clothes with her.”
Neither can I. Because these boxes hold other memories, too.
I remember very well how panicked I felt looking at these clothes in storage when I wasn’t sure we would get to use them ever again. These boxes felt much heavier when another baby was beginning to feel like an improbability.
So while I’m organizing and washing and nesting, I’m going to say:
Thank you, God, for these boxes of memories, precious and painful. Thank you for these reminders that we have been incredibly blessed. And thank you, thank you, thank you for our beloved little girls.