I want to talk about gift giving, what’s hard and what’s easy. When I heard the news, many noted my excitement. I called my friends, looked at baby things (to check out what’s the latest) in stores, and imagined what it would be like to be a grandmother. I even started to notice grandmothers! I was ready to spend all our savings to get ready just to have my grandchild visit--once in a while for a few hours, then overnight, and finally whole weeks in the summer! Remember, the baby wasn’t due for another seven months!
After a few weeks, I remembered the boxes—the ones I had dutifully and lovingly filled with my children’s ‘things’-first stuffed animal, first doll, pink and blue rattles, first outfit, etc. I trudged down to the basement, moved boxes to get at the exact right one, the one labeled "Nathan-baby stuff". There at the top was the blue, red and white striped shirt-the very one he wore home on the day he arrived as our son. It was such a funny choice, way too big, a little scratchy and more for a toddler than for an infant; but we were brand new parents, and didn't know just how small a baby really was. Now, as I hold it, I think how tiny it is; and as I smell it, the baby times come right back to me.
I had a tough time that day, going through all those things-the quilted signature pillow from all the aunties, the soft pink-blue-with-fringe comforter, the bibs ready for any disaster, the tiniest of train-striped overalls, the cap with a duck on the front. No matter how you look at it, baby clothes are wonderful items to examine. They don't just feel soft, they smell soft. And the clothes hold such promise: "The wearer of this light blue nightie could be a senator, a writer, an artist, and will be a young man, a lover, a husband. Soon, he may be a father. . .
Wait a minute; I'm getting ahead of myself! I moved all through the box, ensuring that these things had remained good things to give, proper for a baby again. At the bottom, I began to cry, for there was Curious George, dressed in a too-big yellow Union Pacific t-shirt, smiling up at me from his bottom of the box bed. He has been around, that's for sure. I see Nathan dragging George along in the Philadelphia airport, on the way to see dear friends and meet their newest daughter. George almost had an airplane seat; he was that special. Of the many things that we will pass down to the next baby, I think George might be the hardest. After all, when I know he's packed downstairs in the box, I know I still have a piece of that little boy named Nathan. Once George goes on to find the heart of another little boy, I will have to say goodbye.