He lumbers up the stairs with the high chair first, his calloused farmer hands gripping a beige-upholstered memory.
Mental pictures materialize, flipbook style:
Two spoon-wielding parents, cajoling in one-octave-higher voices.
The weeks when all she’d eat was cottage cheese.
Chubby hands slapping the tray.
Toddler, busted, while coloring the back side of the high-chair with orange crayon.
And the day she ate the pink birthday cake, and how the frosting stuck to her eyelashes and coated the beige fabric — and why did I get the padded high chair again?
Their Daddy hefted memories up the stairs, past me, the quiet spectator in the hallway.
“We’ll need to give these a good scrubbing before …,” he said, voice trailing.
Out the garage door he went.
Is this how the decision is made? Is this how we finally make up our minds — right here in the not-really-saying-so, but in the we-can-always-buy-another-one-if-we-need-it?
We joke that this will be God’s way of sending us another child — as an encore, just when we think the curtain has fallen for the last time.
He comes by next with the baby bathtub.
And then the swing.
And a bouncy seat.
Maybe this way is best. Because it’s true. We’ve been hopelessly indecisive. We have felt content with our family of four, but wonder aloud: Is one person missing from the framed portrait on the living-room wall?
So we’ve snapped lids on Rubbermaid bins of baby clothes; we’ve shoehorned the high chair by the furnace. Just in case …
But this weekend, we pull all of it from cobwebbed storage. I watch Mama Memories parade by. I feel the unspoken words in the pit of who I am: This is it. It’s over.
I text a young mother-to-be in town. Her first baby’s due in two months, and she could surely use the help. She texts back: “My Mom gave me a bunch of baby stuff, so I have all that. Thanx tho!!!”
And I know that as much as I wanted to help the young mama-to-be, my charitable heart is a selfish heart, too: I wanted to know exactly where by babies’ things were going.
I sit with Anna on the couch, kiss the top of her head, and tease: “You’ll be my baby forever, right?”
She looks up, grins wide, then points inside her mouth: “Look, Mommy. It’s my first loose tooth!”
I can’t slow the spin of my world. I don’t care what the scientists say, because this is true: Each trip around the sun goes by a little bit faster than the previous one.
This morning, the house is quiet, and the relics stand sentry in the garage.
I’ll take it all to the consignment shop later this morning. I tell myself someone needs these things, and we really can buy new ones if God surprises us, and it’s just stuff really.
Yes, it is just stuff. That’s what I’m going to tell myself today. It’s stuff that needs washing and then, … off to consignment we go!
Here we go.
See how brave I am? How stoic?
You’re not convinced, are you?
I have a bucket by the door. I need to scrub down that high-chair one last time.
Posted as part of L.L. Barkat’s “On, In and Around Mondays” series.
L.L. invites us each Monday to write from where we are.
You can join L.L. over at Seedlings in Stone. She’s baking pies again…