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Learning to let go of baby clothes

As I sorted through my daughters' baby clothes they'd outgrown, I couldn't help but feel a pang of sadness in my heart.

When I folded a pair of soft-pink footie pajamas, I could picture myself rocking and singing Ashley to sleep when she was just a newborn. Then I came across a onesie that reads, "Daddy's Little Princess." It was a favorite of Ally's when she was 9 months old.

The baby clothes seem to conjure up so many memories, not to mention a few tears. I realized that my sadness was more than the sentimental attachment to the clothes. It's the realization that my little girls are growing up so fast. Where does the time go?

I think the hardest thing was realizing that my husband and I are done having children. It's a passing of an era. No more excitement of taking a pregnancy test hoping to see the two lines appear, no more joy of hearing a rapid little heartbeat in the doctor's office or seeing that little butter bean show up on the ultrasound, or the miracle of that moment when your baby is born and bringing that little bundle home. Gosh, how I loved those baby years. But I know I will enjoy each stage of their lives as my daughters grow older, too. (OK, maybe not so much the teen years! But we'll muddle through.)

I do plan to set aside the special outfits though, like the hand-knitted hats gifted to us from Tri-County Hospital, the newborn outfits they came home from the hospital in, their baptismal dresses, a few gorgeous summer dresses and matching hats, and their first pairs of shoes. I will keep them for when my girls get older, and hopefully, have daughters too.

As I continued to work on organizing the baby clothes for our upcoming garage sale, I came across a tote that jolted me back to reality: my maternity clothes. I didn't find myself shedding too many tears over the blouses that were the size of a circus tents! Adios!

After organizing the clothes into neat and tidy piles according age, spit-up stains and wear-and-tear, I decided to not only sell items on our garage sale, but to also donate clothes to the Women's Pregnancy Crisis Center in Wadena and to give some to one of my girlfriends. It felt good to spread the clothes around a bit.

Then I made another special pile of clothes. This would be clothes set aside for my memory quilt. I ran across the idea recently in a parenting magazine. The idea came from another emotional mother like myself who couldn't let go of her baby clothes.

The only problem: I'm not much of a seamstress. But I figure I'll tackle the memory quilt when my girls graduate from high school. By then, I'll need something to occupy my time when the empty-nest syndrome sets in.