>Packed Away

>FYI–I’m typing this one-handed as Zach snoozes in the crook of my left arm. He has fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of me wearing him moby’d and me feeding him a whopping 6 ounce bottle of breastmilk. He’s in this weird sort of limbo position, half in the carrier and half in the cradle hold in my arms. Actually, I was craving some Mommy-Baby time and so we were holed up in my bedroom jammin’out to the likes of the Stones and Aretha when he acted hungry. I told John to warm 2 ounces for more of a snack, but instead we got a whole meal. And 2 ounces in…..off to Dreamland. I would give anything to have a camera within arm’s reach right now.

So…back to the post at hand…Remember the previous post where I spoke on our cool weather, Zach’s seemingly exponential growth, and more? Well, today was a sad day for me in relation to that post. Today is the day that all of those bigger baby clothes emerged from my dryer smelling of Dreft and wholesome baby goodness. And I sorted, and hung, and organized into matching outfits. And I ran out of hangers. Now let me clarify: I purchased over 200 baby blue baby-sized hangers before Zach’s arrival. And I ran out. As in there are over 200 outfits in circulation. Not counting sleepers and onesies and gowns. Just. Outfits. Well, I need more hangers, so I am about to send John to the store for them when he throws a fit. And he’s right: Zachy doesn’t need more hangers, he needs less clothes. Which leaves me with the task I have been putting off for a while now.

I had to sort through his clothes, removing the outgrown, out of season items to make room for the fall/ winter stuff. A novice mom probably would have handled it better than me. I, on the other hand, broke down. And I was reminded once again of how it all goes so fast. And it seemed as if each item had a special meaning.

The solid white, plain, Baby Gap sleeper. I was about 12 weeks pregnant when we bought it. It was unisex because we didn’t know gender yet. And it was so tiny. The tag said “newborn” but it also said “up to 7 lbs.” And at a time when the idea of another baby was so fresh to me,I held it up in the air to show John, and we were both amazed that a human baby could fit into something so small. It had been so long for us. And at a time when it really was too soon to start buying clothes, we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s what Zach wore home from the hospital, and we were even further amazed when something so tiny was still so large on Zach: we could’ve tied the legs into a bow they were so long.

The “Little Brother” onesie. Right after Evan found out we were having another boy, he was so upset and actually kind of angry at me. He had gone all afternoon without speaking to me as if it were all my fault that Zach was a boy. And then we were at Macy’s, eager to buy clothes now that we knew gender, and Evan found the tiny onesie and brought it to me, saying, “Mama, I want to buy this for my baby brother.” And I knew he would be okay. Zach is actually wearing that in several of the photos from the hospital.

There’s more. The outfit my home health nurse brought me when she came to see Zach and to officially discharge me from their service. She was the one who hugged me 2 days before my amnio as she told me it would all be okay, that I would have a beautiful healthy baby and it would all be worth it. And she was right. Or what about the little romper I bought at Target? It was the one I was reaching for when I wrecked the scooter into the rack of baby clothes. (Hey, shopping while on bedrest proved to be quite the adventure. albeit an illegal one by my doctors’ standards.) Or there was the little overall outfit. So cute. And the very first time Zach wore it was the day I learned a valuable lesson about breastfed babies–that they poop on their own schedule, even if that is only every other day. But that when they poop, they poop. Even if you are in the mall. And so I lifted the lift gate of my car and used an entire package of wipes to clean Zach up as he lay on a blanket in the cargo area of my car- the only area large enough for the operation at hand. And we made the intrepid journey to the nearest garbage can to throw the whole mess away, unwilling to be caught being the ones who stank the place up to be damned. And I thought to myself that the outfit would never come clean, which led me to another lesson about breastfed-baby poop–it really doesn’t stain.

So there they all were: tangible memories. And I could remember all of it. And it was all folded up and packed away into plastic bins. And before I could bring myself to place the lids on, I just stared. They were so much more than clothes to me just then. They were memories of my pregnancy, before it got crazy and riddled with pain and complications. They were family bonding and evidence of my toughness to survive what I did. They were late nights spent learning to nurse. First smiles. When 3 became 4.

So Zach’s first summer on Earth was packed away today. And since this was not my first go-’round, I know how this goes. This starts the March of the Seasons, passing with a blur. Time you will always remember and never, ever get back. And just like I did with Evan, I’ll hold onto them for years, reluctant to let go. Until one day John will lament the amount of unneeded junk in the basement and try to find stuff to get rid of. And he’ll ask, “What about all of these baby clothes?” And I’ll have to let go. Just not right now.

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