Friday, March 09, 2007

Tiny Dresses

It was cotton, crisp and soft, with cheerful white daisies and red, shiny cherries floating in a sea of pink. It was small. So small I couldn't believe it used to fit my Baby, when she really was a baby, also soft and pink with that delicious little crease in her forearm that separated her arm into three sections instead of two. When I took the sundress from the box to prepare it for consigning, I lingered with it, and hesitated to part with it.

But it's only a dress. A dress too small she will never wear again and will only take up space. Besides, you bought one for Sister, too, and Baby can wear that one when she is older and you can enjoy it again.

Right. I'll let it go.

Then it was the blue dress Baby wore to my Sister's wedding last summer. Powder blue taffeta with shiny silver threads woven throughout and a skirt made of layers of tulle and organza and satin and tiny little blue ribbon rosebuds housed throughout its many folds. It was practically a confection. And the color was perfect on her. She looked otherworldly, as if she were an airbrushed photograph in a magazine.

Be practical. You can't keep it all. And that's really what you want, isn't it? Come on.

Yes, of course I want to keep it all. It all means something to me. It all has precious memories associated with it. But it's ridiculous to keep it. I don't have room to keep it.

I hung the dress on a hanger, tagged it, and laid it in the pile along with it's pink sister, trying not to think of how much I wanted Baby to wear those dresses again. A majority of the clothes Baby wears were once worn by Sister. Packing them away when Sister outgrew them was easier. I knew I would probably see them again. But this time I was not putting them in a box to treasure for the next little girl. I was sending them away forever.

I tried to think about the happiness the dresses had brought me and the happiness they would give to another mother, possibly a first time mom, who doted on her new baby and was looking for the perfect dress for her first Easter. She would find shiny white shoes and ruffley socks to match, and hopefully, a bow, and she would think her baby the most beautiful that ever was, and she would, of course, be right. This brought me comfort and I continued emptying the box I had brought in from the garage.

But then I found this. It was the white cotton nightgown I bought at a yard sale for Sister. I remembered the mother who had sold it to me. How she cried as she handed it to me. How she lovingly folded it and asked me to take special care of it. How her tears seemed a little strange at the time, but now I found them on my cheeks as well.

I did not put it on a hanger. I did not tag it. There was no price, no sentimental thought of an unknown mother's joy that could pry it from my hands. I folded it and put it aside. It would not be sent away.

After emptying the box, I loaded up the car and took the many items to the sale. During the inspection process, about four or five employees, young mothers themselves, flocked to my lovely bounty and oohed and aahed over the tiny clothes, some of them intercepting pieces they wanted for their own. At first, I felt protective, as if I needed to swat away the vultures who were delighting in my sorrow. I felt hot tears behind my eyes.

Get away! Those aren't yours! Those are mine! My babies clothes!

But I saw their faces, and the delight in their eyes, and I knew I had made the right choice. They would love them. They would care for them. And it would all be okay. For right then, I knew there was a box of size 2T dresses waiting at home for me to unpack and hang in Baby's closet, and I wasn't going to think of bringing them here next year, but look forward to the spring and the new season life was giving me.


18 comments:

Liz said...

That is beautiful. I can almost see the daisies.

annie said...

My eyes are so full of tears right now that I almost can't see to type this comment. I have two girls, too, and have gone through this many times. Thinking that I might not have another baby to love and see in those familiar pieces of fabric again makes it that much more bittersweet. Thank you for sharing your story. It was beautiful.

Heth said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets attatched to those adorable little clothes. This was so sweet Supermom.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wrote about the same thing earlier. My youngest little man just grew out of his 3month clothes and working on ditching the 6monthers ... I however (full knowing we are done with having little people) cry each time I start to part with a shirt, overalls, sock, fill in the blank...

annie said...

I had that same experience with my youngest daughter Izzy's little dresses. They had the little hats and shoes all matching. I took them out to let a friend use them and cried ... I put them up until I could 'deal with it.' You can just see them in those little clothes and because Izzy was in a near drowning accident (which is posted on my blog with a contest...stop by!) those clothes represented her before the accident.
I did, finally, relinquish those little dresses.
blessings~
Annie

Undercover Angel said...

Beautifully told! I have a hard time parting with anything too. I think it's because we always want to remember when they were that small and actually fit into them...

Lori said...

I totally understand and relate to this...beautifully told.

Wendy said...

Oh, you're killing me! THis is so sweet! I felt the same way getting rid of my little one's clothes. It is heart wrenching!!

MamaofaMinimama said...

After I read this I was sobbing. It took me back to sorting through my litte girls clothes. She is almost 2, and has outgrown so many sweet little outfits. When she was 1 I went through her clothes and had a bunch that were stained, torn, just worn out. But every time I looked at them I remembered how sweet she looked in them, and how teensy she was when she wore them, and I just couldnt toss them. After a week of trying to convince myself to throw them out, I decided to make quilt squares out of them and make her a quilt for her crib. So every time I tuck her in, snug in her crib under a soft quilt I made for her, I am reminded of all those sweet little onesies, and poofy little dresses that she looked like a little angel in.I know there will be more clothes she will outgrow that I cant part with, and I am sure when she has brothers and sisters they will too. But I will keep them all,even the junky ones. I might have to invest in a better sewing machine. I see looooots of quilts in my future :)

Jamie said...

I know what you mean. It's hard when you know it really means an end to something.

Deena said...

Sigh...I remember a baseball outfit, complete with little hat that my son wore when he was 3 months old...I kept it for 3 years after he outgrew it.
When mom went home to Jesus, we were cleaning out her room, and my sisters found an old plastic bag with my first swimsuit, a tiny pair of red cowboy boots, and a gingham sundress my mom kept from when I was 1 year old.
It's hard letting go...
You stated that so beautifully...
I love your blog...

Sheen' The "Cheeriobutt" said...

Hi! I'm baaaack! So this post was very touching and it made me think of my two daughters 9 and 10 and it's been soo long since I was able to dress them in those little sweet dresses. I miss it so. I had to go through their things last year and give them away too, but I saved the best for myself! Couldn't help it. I felt like you did.... Good to see ya again! Did the bad day get any better?

org junkie said...

I absolutely love this post and what a great attitude to have. I had a similar thing happen to me but with the answering machine message that my son had recorded for us three years ago when he was just four. It was so sweet but it was time for a new message and wouldn't you know it, I actually cried when I pressed delete.
Laura

IRENE said...

I can so much sympathise with your feelings.I'll try to remember this when I spring clean their bedrooms!

house full of love said...

I have had three tiny little priness that are now grown teenage girls. I loved each one them equally and they were all dressed well. I loved how you took care in writing every detail of the beatiful dress. I donated their clothes to others who needed them. The memories will always be present.

Stephanie said...

You are an extremely eloquent writer. I am bawling because of your beautiful relatability. If you aren't already published somewhere, you ought to look into it!

(I found you from Org. Junkie, and I look forward to visiting again.)

www.greenclan.blogspot.com

Stacy (Aussie in America) said...

I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for showing me it can be done - we can part ourselves from those tiny dresses!!
Stacy

Kim said...

I love this post! With 3 daughters(and one son) of my own...I understand the attachment to their dresses and the memories that go with them. I have kept a lot of mine...some I just can't part with.

Plus, we have another daughter on the way...she can wear them.

Kim