This past weekend we hosted our very first garage sale, with tables stacked to the brim of old snow boots, outgrown hats and mittens, swaddle blankets, teeny little onesies pronouncing “Daddy’s Girl” or “Beautiful like Mommy”…Silly, of course, but each itsy bitsy piece a precious reminder of how quickly time passes.
It was hard packing up my daughter’s precious little baby clothes, things I remember her wearing (although let’s be honest, I saved an entire TUB of my favorites) or that I specifically remember picking out for her at the store. It was hard knowing that each piece MEANT something to me at one time, that her small little arms fit into that soft fleece sweatshirt and her chubby legs fit into those teeny pink pants.
I wasn’t just crying because I miss her as a baby or because it’s hard to reconcile the big girl she is now with the itsy bitsy baby she used to be. It isn’t just that time flies, although it does. It’s that I’ve already forgotten so much…one day she was a baby, and the next she was a toddler.
Those outfits are memories of her life, a flashback to the Christmas she wore a sparkly red dress and the Halloween she was a ladybug.
They are reminders that not so long ago she was tiny enough to fit into NB onesies and her snuggly fleece sleeper, and now she is barely squeezing into her clothes from earlier this summer. How can so much have changed in just two years?
But there was another reason I was crying as I slowly sorted through her clothes. It’s because she is most likely our last baby. So I was sitting there, packing up those little clothes, remembering tiny snuggles, miniature diapers, fingers wrapped around mine…and knowing that we will never have those things again. It hurt in a place I didn’t even know was tender.
The thing is…My heart still wants one more. We may be done and we may have made that decision carefully and intentionally…but there’s no way to convince my heart that our family is complete right now. And how can I accept that our family is complete if I don’t FEEL it?
To the baby I’m never going to have…I love thinking about you. I love imagining seeing you in the ultrasound room for the first time, the magic of seeing a little heartbeat on the screen. I love imagining you coming home from the hospital to a big brother and big sister who will love you to pieces, and probably slobber you with kisses. I love imagining you scooting after your big brother and sister, trying to keep up. I picture rocking you in the same chair I rocked your siblings, treasuring the middle of the night feeds when it’s just you and me. I picture you learning to crawl. To walk. To run. I would want to soak every second in, knowing from your siblings how each stage, good or bad, is fleeting. I wonder who you would be someday, and if you are a piece missing from our family’s story.
I wonder if someday, when I’m old and gray, I will still be imagining you, as an adult, with a family of your own.
We sold a lot of stuff at our garage sale. But I snuck a few things back inside. Just in case.