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.