I sat on the floor of their room in front of the closet. I came in here exited at the prospect of getting rid of clothes that are too small. Our house has been overrun with baby clothes and I was excited to make some room. But I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that would hit me. Confusing, conflicting emotions that left me sitting on the floor holding a shirt and crying.
It’s silly I know. But I couldn’t help it. I was overwhelmed. It was a blueberry stain that got me, pushing me over the edge to tears. How insane does that sound? I literally sat on the floor, crying because I saw a 2 year old blueberry stain on a pair of pajamas. I was not ready for it! But I saw the stain and I lost it. There were so many reasons why this shirt made me cry, that I don’t even know where to start. So I guess I will start with the most obvious.
My babies are growing up. It’s cliche I know, but they are getting so big, and I’m sad I don’t have my babies any more. I’m sadder yet that I know I will probably never have another child. I want more babies. Badly. But with the nature of our genetics, I just don’t think I have the physical and emotional capacity for more. I don’t think I would be the best mom I can be. I would be too strung out and pulled in too many directions. But the thought of being done makes me sad and long for another baby. So I sat there, struggling with the closure of giving clothes away. There’s a finality to it that is overwhelming. And I found myself on the floor of my sons’ room, mourning the loss of a baby I will never have.
Compounding my emotions was the size of this particular shirt. It’s from a pair of PJs that are size 18 months. Not surprisingly, they fit my 18 month old. But here is what got me. These were the same PJs my first born was still wearing at almost 3 years old. He was tiny. I had forgotten how tiny, till just that moment, when I sat starring at his old hand me down pyjamas. The size difference of my two boys for their relative ages exaggerates this all the more. It brings me back, and reminds me of just how hard my oldest had to fight to grow. How small and helpless he was. It made me ache just remembering his pain, and my agonizing over it.
It made me proud too. Proud of his growth, and of what we did to get him to where he is. At four and a half he sits firmly in the 50th percentile. He’s average. But average for him, might as well be as big as a mountain. He is resilient, and he didn’t quit. Looking at this little shirt showed me how far he’s come and it made me proud of him. Proud of me. Proud of my husband. We have never worked harder for a 50 percent. Never been so happy for an average score. It made me appreciate the meaning of words like normal and typical It made me overjoyed that, for the first time in his life, he gets such a label.
Then I saw that stain. I remember the day the stain was made. He was two, and this shirt was massive on him. He sat in his high chair waiting for me to bring him breakfast. We had finally started to get his GERD under control and I was now allowed to give more than toast, rice and bananas. It was a glorious morning, and for the first time that I could remember, he ate without crying. No fighting, no pleading, no need for distractions. He sat in his chair and he happily ate blueberries. And when he squished one between his fingers, he erupted in a fit of giggles. That smashed blueberry got smeared on his shirt. But I didn’t even bother to wipe it off. Instead, I got my camera and took pictures to show his dad. As I watched him eat, I was flooded with emotion. I was filled with relief. As I saw it was possible for him to eat pain free, I melted from the inside out. And just like I did today in my sons’ room, I found myself on the floor crying. Tears of pure joy. He was eating. He was happy. It was amazing. The memory of the moment came flooding back to me, and as I saw this faded little purple mark, I felt an overwhelming urge to go and hug my son.
I found my average sized four year old sitting in his playroom. He was just recovering from GI bleeding and had lost a lot of weight. After a long and heartbreaking summer, the bleeding had stopped and the weight was coming back. When he saw me, he said with a muffled voice that indicated a full mouth, “hi mom. Want some crackers?” Already in my emotional state, the sight of my boy for the first time in well over a month, happily eating pain free caused an explosion if emotion. I burst into tears. My sweet boy crawled into my lap, hugged me and said “Mom, it’s ok. They are just crackers”. As I sat there holding him in my arms, I wondered if he would ever understand that he was eating more than just crackers. He might as well have been eating blueberries.