Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Going through the kids' clothes gives me all the feels

Max sat on his bed watching me hold up various shirts to his back and listening to my steady stream of commentary.

"Does this still fit you? No? Whoa. I can't believe it," I kept saying.

"Benjamin!" Max would respond, and then I'd toss the shirt into a bin to keep for Ben.

I sounded peppy but really, I was sad. Putting away clothing that's gotten too big on the kids isn't just a giant chore I deal with every spring and fall—it's a one-way ticket to sentimentalville.

"This wouldn't be a problem if we moved to California," Dave noted the other day as I stood knee-deep in a pile of Ben winter clothes that I was switching out for warm weather ones. Dave fantasizes about living there, but as someone born and bred in New York, it would be hard for me to leave. San Francisco tempts me, but not having to deal with the biannual switching-of-the-clothes ritual isn't quite enough motivation.

Besides, ever since Ben was born I've just smushed my favorite clothing for all seasons into my closet. Occasionally looking a bit wrinkled is a small price to pay for not having haul my wardrobe up and down from the attic.

Sabrina handled sorting through her own clothes, after I bugged her to do it eleventy billion times. Max and I always do it together. He's had a growth spurt in recent months, and stuff that fit him for two summers in a row is tight now, including shirts that were swimming on him when I first bought them.

I don't have many clothes left over from Max's babyhood because he was a messy eater and everything got irreparably stained, so Ben got a lot of new stuff. Last year's summer getups made me giddy, especially the rompers. Like this one with a matching hat.

I've been happy to find out that they still make rompers in size 24 months; giving away the one's he's outgrown was hard on my heart. I saved a few favorites. 

Over the last year, I've been trading messages on Facebook with a cool woman I know through work about not wanting our tots to grow out of babyhood. "Still a baby!" Jenny would note when I'd post photos of Ben. He is now undeniably a toddler. "Baby4eva!" she recently reassured me. 

Yes, our children will always be our babies. Yes, it's wonderful to see them maturing. But all the clothing that they can no longer get into is undeniable proof that their lives are zooming by.

How is it possible...

...it's been three years since he got these swim trunks?
Women love certain pieces of clothing because it makes us feel confident, powerful and pretty. As a mom, I adore certain pieces of my children's clothing because I associate them with their cuteness, personality and charm, along with occasions in their lives. That's the hoodie Max wore during his first Special Olympics. Here's the overpriced blouse that Sabrina begged me to buy that she wore on the first day of school last year. Those are the overalls Ben wore on the cruise last December. 

Life can be so consuming when your children are little, especially when you have a child with major developmental delays. "The days are long, but the years are fast," Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project, one of my favorite quotes ever. I'm reminded of that every single spring and fall as I pore over their wardrobes.

When I stored Max's clothes in the attic, I had a freaky thought. By the time Ben is able to fit into size 12 to 14, Max is going to be about 24 years old. 

I couldn't handle that. So I shut off the light in the attic, closed the door and walked back down to Max's bedroom, where he sat waiting for me to read a book with him. 


  1. My 14-year-old is now in men's sized clothes, with just a few of the Kohl's largest boy size still working. But then there is his little mustache that he loves but I don't like because it is empty in the middle due to his cleft. And the little bit of hair right under the lower lip and chin that makes his face look dirty if you look close. He's not my baby any longer.

  2. It's so crazy to think of Max at 24, for me as a reader, and obviously you as the mom. Three years ago today we had the ultrasound that confirmed our daughters brain malformation, and I remember then thinking, "I just want the next few years to go by so I know what this is going to amount to"... and the years have flown, with some questions answered, but a million more added to the list. Time is so strange like that.



Thanks for sharing!

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