Thursday, March 10, 2011

Slice of Life Number Ten - Memories are Leaking Out

March 10, 2011
Brainstorming with students yesterday in our memoir session started me down the old 'memory lane', as I wanted the students to do, too. I hadn't counted on so many ideas coming out in our brainstorming session. As Slice of Life is so on my mind as well, I thought I'd better take advantage of the perks of finding ideas within my writing groups. Here is another piece important in my life that I want to be sure to capture.

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.


  1. What a sweet memory to savor! I'm thinking that George should stay with you and he will be that special something for the grandchild to have at your house.

  2. Oh my gosh! I read your post and now I've spent half an hour digging sitting on the floor of my bedroom closet digging through the box of baby things my mother saved! Oh my, oh my...

  3. First, congratulations on the pending grandchild. How exciting! I'm really looking forward to being a grandmother sometime too. Hopefully within the next 10 years.

    Second, your post has made tears in my eyes. I did the same thing with my kids baby stuff. The softness of babythings can be smelt. Absolutely!

    Third, thanks for the reminder that I need to go to the storage unit and repack certain items (such as their baby things) into more condensed boxes.

  4. And I, too, had to clean out the baby things one horrid horrid day in the garage. I did for about 3 hours, then it was all just too much. I dragged my husband upstairs, away from the eyes of the teenagers, and he held me while I wept. I saved the small pink "Trundle-Bundle" fleece sleeper from my daughter's babyhood. I decided that saving one thing was okay. The rest went to the children's treasure boxes--and I let them go. I don't know whether they look at their things (three of my children are boys, and for all I know the daughters-in-law have cleaned them out and thrown it all away) but my daughter still has hers.

    Thanks for a good memory--I haven't cried since. BTW, Grandchild #9 was born this last fall. I might get one or two more, but that's about it for now, I think. They came in a rush: the oldest is 8, the youngest 5 months. Happy Grandchild to you!

    Elizabeth E.

  5. That is such a great post, Linda! Just thinking about it from the new-parent perspective, those baby clothes and "things" have such strong memories attached to them. That is very sweet to read about. Thanks :)


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