Why I can't blog tonight
Growing up

Clothes sort

This weekend all three boys went across the street to attend a birthday party. Tre and Max happily dove into the maelstrom of children racing throughout the house. Raphael got Sponge Bob painted on his hand, so he was walking around, pressing his Sponge Bob and announcing he just shot you with his laser. The mom in charge of the party suggested I could go home if I wanted, so I muttered a few things about being happy to stay…did she need any help…and then made a break for the door.
Once home I hauled out the boxes of spring/summer clothes for the big season change sort. Hate the big season change sort. Clothes stacked everywhere, and it always takes me two to four days to get everything out, sorted, and put away.
Ah, but that’s when I have “help” in the form of three little boys pawing through my piles of clothes. Not so this weekend. With a rerun of “While You Were Out” keeping me company, I was a sorting machine.
Clothes were efficiently assigned to the appropriately sized child. Clothes too worn or in need of mending were put in a bag to get rid of. Cold weather clothes were packed away for sorting in the fall. Everything in its sensible and proper place.
And then there were the tiny clothes. Too small for any boy in my house.
Oh, *sigh*.
I have one large Tupperware tub full of outgrown clothes. Mostly baby clothes, but there are a few other sizes – like the blue and red striped t-shirt that was Tre’s favorite when he was three. It’s pretty worn out, but Tre loved it and when I look at it I can see three year old Tre, with grubby knees and dimpled hands that would still hold mine in public.
That’s the criteria for what I save in my clothes archive box. It doesn’t matter what condition the clothes are in, if they’ve only been worn for one Christmas Eve service or if they’re threadbare from three boys’ worth of wear. If I pick up a shirt or a sleeper or a onesie and the texture of the cloth sparks a memory in my hands of guiding a wobbly baby arm through the sleeve, or pulling the neck opening down past a surprised pair of brown eyes that crinkle with delight to see me again – well then, that’s a keeper. If all three boys wore a certain outfit, then I can’t get rid of it. I hold it and smell it and look at the memories of all three of them, layered over one another. There’s one yellow onesie that is so tiny and soft. All three of them wore it during their first summer. When Tre wore it when it was new lemon yellow. By the time Raphael wore it it had faded to a pale butter, with the original bright yellow shade tracing the seams. When I hold it I can feel each boy as a fat little newborn. I can see the fuzzy cotton pull across their round bellies, and smell the milky sweet smell of their damp necks.
Now I know there’s no reason to save all these clothes. There’s no other baby to wear them, and most of them are too old and tattered to wear again anyhow. But that Tupperware tub holds scraps of the boys’ babyhoods. How exactly am I supposed to get rid of that? So back in the closet they go, and next fall I can pull them out again and touch them and smell them and remember.
Who needs closet space, after all?


Amma D

Ohhhh, ache.

I have a small box of baby clothes, in which there is a tiny, ruffled yellow bonnet...I remember when it looked huge next to your little grapefruit of a head.


Don't let the "Clean Sweep" folks hear you.

Of course, I've got 3 handkerchief linen baby dresses that both my father and Liz wore so who am I to talk?

Isn't it funny the items that bring back our memories?


I already have several little items that, when I start giving away the girls' old clothes, I know I'm going to hang on to. Especially their homecoming outfits. Sigh.


It's hard to let go of a lot of that stuff. So many memories. I'm working on being more ruthless in my decluttering latetly though. It's hard. :)

Amma D

It's like labor stories...mention your keepsake baby clothes, and we all start telling our own story...listing the things we can't bring our selves to get rid of!

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