Memories, On Parade

November 29, 2010 | 22 comments

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.

Spaghetti-sauce face.

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.

Yep.

See how brave I am? How stoic?

You’re not convinced, are you?

Me either.

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…

by | November 29, 2010 | 22 comments

22 Comments

  1. bhsumom

    I know exactly how you feel…and by the way, my "baby" of the family came after we got rid of everything 🙂

    Reply
  2. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Bhsumom — And I am laughing while reading your comment. Because I wonder if this is how it will all turn out here. Either way, I'm at peace, knowing God's Got It! … Thanks for stopping by, for "feeling" all of this with me.

    Reply
  3. patty

    Blinking through the tears I can barely type. I know what it's like to feel like someone's missing even when everyone's home. Praying for you as you place it all, once again, in God's hands. Love you, friend.

    Reply
  4. L.L. Barkat

    That photo is just perfect. Captures it. The moving on, the wanting to stay.

    Funny that I did something the same this weekend. But I guess I went through the grieving a few years ago. Because when I put the bags of clothes into my sister's hands on Thursday, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. And I was glad to have a little more space in the attic. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Nancy

    So glad I'm not the only one who isn't any good at being stoic. This letting go, this grieving, has to be making us all long a little more for heaven. Doesn't it?

    Reply
  6. Sandra Heska King

    I'm thinking that bucket is also holding a few tears. We saved a few baby clothes for the dollies–and now Gracee plays with her mom's clothes. And I caress and remember.

    Reply
  7. Andrea

    GOD has a very special plan for those things..he will show you where it needs to go and when it needs to go.
    Blessings,
    andrea

    Reply
  8. Deidra

    Funny, but I don't even remember giving away the baby things. I have held onto just a few special items. White satin and cotton dedication outfits – one gown, one teeny suit. Little sweaters passed down through two generations. Blankets knit by hand by women in our churches. Now my children are adults and I know that one day the cycle will start again and I am overwhelmed by the beauty of each step along the way.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    I, too, have kept a few things — as you mentioned, Sandra and Deidra.

    I think for me, this moment was like saying it out loud: That we won't have any more children. … And that's not necessarily true, but it *feels* that way. And for a variety of reasons, that's not easy for me to say.

    Reply
  10. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Update: So I washed up the items, packed them into the Acadia and drove to the consignment shop late this morning. … The phone rang a few minutes ago, and it was a local grandma asking, "Could she have the high chair in the picture?"

    But I'd already taken it to the shop!

    I called the consignment shop just now, and — yes! — they'll put it aside for me. I'll pick it up tomorrow and take it to Grandma Pam, who was also my oldest daughter's kindergarten teacher.

    (You're right, Andrea! God did have a special plan!)

    Reply
  11. jasonS

    We had that same high chair for our son who is now 10. We held on to things for a very long time, but I think we've consigned most of it or given it away. You're so right. All we can do is embrace what we've got now. It's a great way to live. Thanks, Jennifer.

    Reply
  12. Duane Scott

    Coming back from a hiatus of not reading your blog, I was welcomed by this one.

    I must tell you.

    I'm a dude.

    And you totally worked on my emotions. 🙂

    Reply
  13. Jennifer

    Funny to think that God has a plan for a baby bouncer and a high chair…but He does. Things are just "things," but they're also a ministry. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    yeah, that's how my third child came along. i had just given away ALL the baby stuff and found out I was pregnant the next month!

    Any news Jennifer?? ha!

    Reply
  15. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Beth … I've heard the echo of your story many times today. Remarkable! LOL.

    No news yet, though. I'll keep you posted. Now, wouldn't that be something?

    Reply
  16. Debra

    I read this and had to smile … I sold all that in a garage sell at a very trying time in our lives. I just decided I could rebuy it should we ever need it again. Our third little blessing arrived 7 1/2 and 9 1/2 YEARS after her big sisters. She will be one in three days. So amazing! … And, my husband was out-of-work my entire pregnancy and for 5 more months after her birth. God provided everything I had on a list for her and then some. He'll provide for you, too.

    Reply
  17. Jeff Jordan

    Jennifer,
    We had our third child unexpectedly after having given a lot of things away. Luckily, we still had the baby bed although I had to drag it out of our storage barn and reconstruct it. That was interesting.

    Just this past summer I cleaned out that same barn and gave away two car seats that we didn't need now that the kids are older. And, you're right. The scientists are wrong. That trip around the sun is definitely getting faster:)

    Loved the picture too!

    Reply
  18. Ann Kroeker

    Oh, my, how hard…how very hard to admit that the end might be here.

    At the same time, if someone new does enter your life, I'm certain the Lord will provide yet again.

    But I remember the grief when we got rid of our things at a garage sale. Our neighbor bought the bouncy seat for her grandkids, and I wept and wept when I realized it had been the backdrop of so many baby snapshots. And now it was gone.

    But here it is several years later, and it seems right and good to pass them along.

    A young woman bought a lot of the cutest outfits and all of the cloth diapers and diaper covers. She seemed so excited.

    Your *stuff* will be a blessing.

    Oh, and the loose tooth in your "baby's" mouth? Ouch.

    annkroeker.com

    Reply
  19. Stephani

    Bittersweet. I can imagine the difficulty in doing this. I've never had a child and all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a stay at home mom. Closing the door behind us as we move forward can be difficult, but we are moving forward and I'm so thankful for your sweet family that you've blessed us with by sharing them. I'm dealing with my own memories these days. In fact my last blog post was titled Bittersweet.~ Love your writing and appreciate your openess!

    Reply
  20. Monica Sharman

    I gave away everything except the little beanie that they give the baby at the hospital (white with alternating pink and blue stripes).

    The things I did keep, I kept for my GRANDKIDS, for crying out loud. My eldest is 12. But I always did have that problem of trying to live in the future, thinking too far ahead. I guess that's some kind of opposite of what you wrote here.

    Reply
  21. Beth E.

    It's tough letting go of things that hold such precious memories. I had such a difficult time letting go of our boys' baby clothes! I ended up putting a few things in my cedar chest…I just couldn't bear to part with them. 🙂

    Reply
  22. Brock S. Henning

    We stopped at three. And I don't like the word "stopped" when it comes to family. It feels much too conclusive for something so special. As always with your writing, a wonderful story painted beautifully.

    Reply

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