Monday, November 17, 2014

The End of an Era


I pulled everything out and made sure it was washed. Then I neatly folded all the sweaters, the jeans, the t-shirts, the tunics, the tank tops, the shorts and the bathing suits. There was the angora sweater my mom bought me on that first ever shopping trip. I smiled at the dress I wore to a friend's wedding while I was heavily pregnant with my first.  These were the shorts that saw me through those horribly hot days toward the end of my last pregnancy. That was the shirt I wore home from the hospital with Sweet B.

For almost a full year now a dusty box of maternity clothing has been lurking in the corner of my bedroom. As the seasons changed during this last pregnancy, items were called up for duty and then chucked back into it when I outgrew them or the season changed again.  It's been at least a month since I've worn anything in the box and today just seemed like the day.

This collection of clothing was traded between my sister and I during each of our 8 pregnancies. Christmas gifts and birthday gifts from our families over the course of 6 years. Some were hand-me-downs my sister had gotten from her friends. There was a great pair of jeans in there from my good friend Leslie. A bathing suit I actually felt cute in from my dear friend Annie. These clothes covered the bellies that sustained the lives of more than 15 beautiful babies. It all came streaming back to me. The months - the YEARS - that these clothes covered my expanding and shrinking, expanding and shrinking to make room for new life.

And then I snapped the lid on and loaded it all in the back of our minivan.

I drove to a local ministry that supports women in crisis during pregnancy and I set the boxes down.

As I filled out a donation form for the receptionist I had a full-on mini-freak out. I'm not really going to donate all of this am I?!! Those jeans are super cute. For preggo-jeans anyway. What if I need it again?? Wait - what if I REALLY DON'T EVER need it again?

B Daddy and I have had enough unplanned pregnancies to merit our own after-school special. We're both on the same page as far as closing this chapter of life goes.  But packing up all those clothes this morning made it feel very final. I'll go so far as to say I was the tiniest bit sad.

Fortunately a strange combination of pride (how awkward would it be to NOT donate this now that it's here?) and charity (there are girls here that actually NEED these clothes) prevailed and I left empty-handed.

I read somewhere that we never outgrow our attachment to sacred things, and if I've learned anything over the past 6 years, it's that motherhood is indeed a sacred thing, from the very first purchase of maternity jeans down to the last dusty box.