Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Pieces of You...

Today I gave away a big box of hand-me-down clothes for the first time.

And then I cried all the way home.

The clothes really don't matter to me. And they'll be worn by my nieces, two of the most darling little girls in the world.

And last night, when I was going through our storage room and found this HUGE box of clothes, I stared at them and realized how pointless it is to keep them all.

IF we have another child in the next few years and,
IF that child is a girl and,
IF those clothes are still in good shape by the time she's able to wear them and,
IF she and I still like them,
then they might still be useful.

But that will be 5 or 6 years from now at the very least. And that's a long time to keep shuffling that much around when it's based on so many IFs.

I knew it would be best to give them to someone who will use them.

But it also hurt to leave them there and walk away. Because it felt like I was giving away pieces of my little girl.

The darling red and yellow outfit she wore for preschool pictures.

The cozy purple sweater she loved to curl up in.

The Dora the Explorer shirt she wore as she climbed on the bus to go to Kindergarten for the very first time.

Really, they're all just pieces of fabric. Cotton. Polyester. Denim.

But when I look at clothes she used to wear, I can still see her standing there, smiling at me. So beautiful and sweet and precious.

And my heart breaks to know that those days are gone and I'll never get her back.

My precious daughter will be nine years old in May. And as I thought about that this morning, I realized that nine years old is half way to the magic age of eighteen. That year when the government will officially consider her an adult. The year that she will probably be just as restless as I was, ready to spread her wings and explore the world.

So, today I dropped off pieces of my 3-5 year old Kaitybean, hoping desperately that they will be loved and appreciated by those to whom they were given. And there was such a sense of finality to it.

My 3-5 year old Kaitybean is gone. And my little girl is going, blossoming into the beautiful young woman she will all too soon become.

As I drove home, my tears were a palpable reminder of how fast it all goes, how soon this season in my life will be over. And I could almost see myself in my mother's shoes a decade ago, dropping her daughter off in a sleepy little college town and crying all the way home, hoping that she'd loved me enough and taught me enough and wishing there was just a little more time.

Because today it was just clothes. But I could see phantoms of my sweet daughter through the years. And I looked into her eyes all the years she has grown up. I know I have done my best, but I've also made so many mistakes. And taken her for granted far too often. And gotten angry too many times when I should have scooped her up in my arms to tell her everything would be all right.

I love her fiercely, deeply, desperately. I have since the moment she was placed in my arms and my mother self was born.

But this morning I find myself wondering whether or not I have loved her enough and wishing there was some way to actually give her the full measure of adoration and devotion I feel in my heart. And wondering why on earth I ever spent a moment away from her when I could have been by her side, soaking in her sweet face and blessed presence. Wishing I could get even a few of those moments back, to hold my little girl and do a little better and just tell her once again how much I love her.

And now I'm half way there, to the time when I will have to let her go and let her lead her own life. My heart aches to know that I probably won't get it exactly right over the next nine years either. I'll probably make mistakes and miss opportunities and yell when I should whisper and scold when I should listen.

So, I suppose that all there is for me to do is what I've done every day since she was born -- love her and do my very best and hope that will be enough.

Because today I walked away from clothes, from pieces of her, reminders of her. In the blink of an eye, I will be saying goodbye as she seeks wide open spaces like her mother did.

And I'll probably cry all the way home.

1 comment:

Gina said...

I have had very similar feelings the last few months as I've been selling and giving all of Liam's baby things away. It does feel final and sad.

Great post!