A few weeks ago I started sorting through all of our winter and spring clothing and like each year, prepared to put stuff away or into a hand-me-down box for the next child to wear when they got bigger. But, this time was different. Now that my youngest daughter is growing out of all of her things and is reaching the age of 7, I found myself having to finally let go. And it wasn’t easy. I guess the hand-me-downs stop here with Brianna.
Here were tons and tons of clothes that I would no longer pass down. It hit me like a ton of bricks, unexpected. Something I really hadn’t thought much about when my husband and I decided that four girls would be enough and complete our family.
The infant clothing that I did pass over to my niece years ago was a little bit easier. I’m not sure why but likely because it was during a time when I was running ragged with four children and Brianna really gave me a run for my money back then. I’m not sure I could pause long enough to even think it through. Also, I think I knew if I ever *needed* them, they were still in the family. They weren’t gone.
And the other things I sent to Goodwill back then didn’t bother me because they had already went through three children at least as I buy a lot of stuff from consignment shops. The clothes were really worn. There was no life left in them and even if we were to ever have another baby I’d have to replace those.
But this time… this time it’s different. My girls are all school-aged and there are beautiful dresses from holidays spent together, tops, bottoms and little shoes that have plenty of life left in them to go on another child’s little feet. And this time, that little child will not be mine. There are items with tags still on them that I would normally just look forward to putting on one of my other daughters down the road.
I am so happy to be in a place now where my girls are old enough to do a bit more for themselves and our family can bond in different ways than before. I love that when we go on vacation we do not have to plan around nap time or feedings. I love getting to know my children more deeply now that they are older and form their own opinions, likes and dislikes. It really does get easier and I like that.
I know in my heart I am finally content and do not have the urge to have another child. But it still stings a bit. It is the end of a chapter. A 19 year long chapter as my first daughter has just turned 19 and its definitely hard to let go.
But somehow I think once these clothes go off to Goodwill, it will get easier. Symbolic maybe? Almost like burning love letters in a fire to move on to the next phase of your life? I don’t know. What I do know is that life is a lot of letting go’s. This is just one of them so I better get used to it.