Aside from a few funny onesies, I didn't pay for my first son's clothing until he was well over a year old. He received a lot of clothing as gifts but more than that, we were swept away in an avalanche of hand-me-downs. I received more hand-me-downs than I sometimes could keep up with.
I was staggered by my friends' generosity, but now I'm giving my own baby clothes away, I realize there might be more to passing on baby clothes than just purging old stuff—it's helping mourn my kids' babyhood, too.
I did a bad job "cherishing" my first son—I struggled a lot with new motherhood and while he was a pretty good baby, he's never been a very snuggly kid. Luckily, my second child is really cuddly and squishy and I'm trying to get out all the cuddles and squishes I can since I know I won't have more kids after him.
And with each outfit I bag up to give away, there are some memories I can enjoy up close for one last time.
But now I know, after having the older kid, how we're also saying goodbye to a simpler time I've come to appreciate. We have so much ahead of us still with these boys and so it's a little bittersweet to close the door on a time when our main tasks are fairly simple—diapers, naptime, foods and playing.
I'm a person though who tries not to get too bogged down in sentimentality—I write to process my feelings so I don't have to scrapbook or something. So if I can do something practical with my feelings, it makes me happy. That's why I'm actually enjoying giving away my boys' clothes. I'm not just purging, I'm helping. I'm contributing to the circle of life!
And with each outfit I bag up to give away, there are some memories I can enjoy up close for one last time. Here are the super soft orange velour pajamas James wore around Thanksgiving. Here's the preppy Ralph Lauren outfit Paul wore for my first Mother's Day. Here's the cute bulldog outfit my friend Lisa brought me to the hospital when my first son was born.
I get to say goodbye to them and then hope they'll maybe be a part of somebody else's mental pictures of their own kids. My friend's son wore those velour orange pajamas in a photo on Facebook and seeing the clothes be filled by a new warm little body made me happier than holding onto them ever could.