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Honour the Child

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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Yard sales are hard.
And I don't mean the sorting and the cleaning and the pricing.
I mean hard on the heart!

We recently decided to end our adoption process in order to focus more fully on our daughter's needs as a child with inattentive type ADHD.   
That was a hard enough decision.

Along with it came the reality that the high chair and baby gates, baby clothes and toddler books were no longer potentially needed.  That the 6 years worth of clothing and shoes and toys no longer had a future in our home.
And that was the killer.

Driven by the knowledge that keeping our home as simple and organized as possible would be of benefit to our daughter, it was time to clean it out. And with that, some of the hopes and visions for how our family would be and a few more steps towards accepting the blessings we now enjoy.

I wouldn't consider myself overly attached to 'stuff', so I wasn't prepared for the emotional experience of sifting through 6 years of memories in boxes.

The feel of the soft cotton on an infant onesie and the coolness of those snaps I could do up blind and bleary with sleep in the middle of the night.
The scents that lingered in the folds of a receiving blanket that had sat cheerfully on a shelf throughout pregnancy, preparing us for the little one to come.
The mobile whose song immediately returned me to the nursery and my cheerful baby playing with her feet as it sang and I grabbed a hurried shower.
The hat Rowan wore on our first outing or the 'Sextapus' ~a six-legged octopus she was given on her first Christmas.
Even the stained bibs, their stains developing over the years in storage, ruefully reminding me of long nights battling reflux.

The moose stays!
I set aside a few favourites from each stage to keep and pushed myself through the process of pricing the precious things I had to let go. And when I found myself getting teary eyed over the swing that Rowan barely used because it made her motion sick as an infant, I had to dig a little deeper into what this was really all about.

I realized that it was the not things themselves that we cherish, but that they are symbols~ items that point beyond themselves to something larger, more meaningful~ of what we have loved and where we have lived.

As long as we hold them in boxes, like external memory drives, they are with us~ we can open the box, see the symbol and remember. And remembering, at its roots is re-membering~ putting the pieces back together to make the memory present in this moment.

That is why reading 'Cow Moo Me' and finding that I still know it by heart ("cow moo you") is such a visceral emotional experience. And why it is so hard to part with these symbols, these things which become so much more.

But at the end of the day, they are things.
And they are not the whole of our memories, nor the heart of the experiences they recall.

For the memories reside within us, strung into the very structure of our hearts and souls, and if not touched by the sight of a tiny booty from time to time, they will still exist to be plucked and resonate sweetly by the face of our growing child, the round of her cheek, that curve cherished from blurry ultrasound images imprinted on our hearts even before she was born.

The things point to the truth of our love for our child.
But they are not that love.
And so letting them go, while bittersweet, in the end, was affirming.

In the end, I gave away far more than I sold... Seeing that special hat popped onto the head of an indignant infant while his mother grinned at his reaction set off a whole symphony of memories and the satisfaction of joy passed forward. ♥♥


April's Homemaking said...

I can really relate to this post, my children are in their teens now, and when it was time to clear out some of their childhood things, it is really a symbolic reminder that my children are becoming young adults. I have some mementos tucked away, and I do keep all of our favorite children's books- to this day I cannot get through the storybook "I'll Love You Forever" without tearing up. Raising children is such an incredible journey.

luxiii said...

I am meeting you in Budapest...
After walking a similar path (an ADD 6 year-old son, my age factor & the loss of a baby in the second trimester) I too am facing the reality that there may be no more children. I am not yet ready to let go of the baby "stuff" but oh how your post has encouraged me to see that to focus on the child/children we have can be enough. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

Lori @ Beneath the Rowan Tree said...

Thank you to you both for your comments.
luxiii, my heart goes out to you, I am so sorry for your loss and I can only say, hang in there sister! And drop me a line sometime if you need to chat :)

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