When I was a baby my paternal grandmother made a good majority of my clothes and even some of my blankets. As I grew, up until about pre-teen age, she also made clothes for me. My mother who is the opposite of a hoarder never saved any of those things. For her, I suppose, having those mementos just wasn’t on her list of must-haves.
As I grew older my grandmother expressed her disappointment that my mother never saved any of those things – I admit, I was disappointed as well. And she brought it up again after I had my first daughter. When she passed away in 2001 I was cleaning out her house and I came across two of the things she had made: One of my favorite Spring-time, clearly 70s dress and a slip.
Those two items are in my two younger daughters’ closet now and 5-year-old Anna, my youngest, can more than likely fit the dress now. After that, I’ve been wondering what to do with those last two items.
Last year when Amber, my oldest, gave birth to my first granddaughter Autumn, I presented her with a large gift bag full of baby items leftover from her two younger sisters along with small tokens from when she was a baby. For me that moment was precious and sweet. I’ll be able to witness Autumn in classic, timely and still stylish summer gear in a few months and we – Amber and I – will be able to enjoy the memories each item brings up.
I also can’t wait to compare any pictures of my children in the clothing to pictures of Autumn in the same items. Especially a few outfits that Amber bought for her sister Amareah, now 8.
All of this came to mind when I was rifling through the under-the-bed container the old baby clothes were in. The container is less than half full because Amber has all the girl items, but my son’s baby things, my favorites, are still in there. I opened the container with the intention of finding a smaller one to transfer the things to and decide what to do with the under-the-bed one. (My bed is an on-the-ground platform kind.)
Instead of transferring the clothes I laid each set out, paired them up, ran my hands over the soft materials and thought about my son – my only son! – when he was an infant and toddler. It’s beautiful how the memories will flow through from that small experience.
On one hand, my mother throws away and gives away almost everything because she absolutely despises having anything laying around or stored. I, on the other hand, am not a hoarder but I relish in the items that spur beautiful memories or happiness. If you want to “get deep,” you’ll discover that my maternal grandmother likes to keep just about everything and would more than likely be a hoarder if it weren’t for her three daughters keeping her in check over the years. Therefore my mom took the exact opposite approach. Having had so much stuff around when she was growing up spurred her desire to maintain order (don’t tell her I said that can be a little OCDish) and in my case having to throw or giveaway things that I thought should be kept while I was growing up results in me holding on to a lot of things for memory sake or just in case.
I have to make a conscious effort to giveaway or throw away those things that just aren’t important. I do a pretty good job of keeping the clutter in check especially since I find too much stuff to be way overwhelming. Amber falls somewhere in the middle of these spectrums: She likes to be organized, but she can be so unorganized and have a gigantic mess. She seems to like memorabilia, but may not hold it in as high regard as I do and she enjoys the memories.
Whatever way we all decide to experience our baby memories, I know we can all probably agree that there’s simple beauty, love, light and happiness in each and every one of those thoughts.
Tell me, do you keep your children’s baby things? Do you have any items from when you were a baby? How do you store your things or what do you do with them?