After we had our first baby, there was just an assumption we would have another.
When the second was born, we naturally understood he would not be the last.
And now a third son. I don't profess to know God's will so far in advance, what He may place in our hearts for our family, just suffice it to say there is not that assumption that there will be more newborn babies for us.
So, maybe prematurely, but I don't really feel that way, I have been packing up the baby things that are now too small and passing them on. My favorites I am saving for any future nephews (ahem... that's future nephews... ya know, when ev...). The rest are going to friends, or the shops that resell used children's clothes (my favorite way to outfit my crew).
There is one item, though, that is being tucked away in my sock drawer. A keepsake of the baby years. A representation of the beginning of my Motherhood, and a sweet memory of each set of little feet that wore them.
Each of my newborn boys sported these sweet little froggy shoes.
I bought them myself, for more money than I would normally spend on such a small item. I can remember the day, the store, the way I felt. It was a special day, actually. It snowed. Right here on the coast. I drove through the snow to go buy these little shoes.
What I can't remember about that day is if we knew yet. I can't remember if I bought them before we were made of aware of the possibility of Down Syndrome, or if all we knew at that point was that Charlie was hearing impaired.
I just remember feeling so raw. Postpartum. Things were not going like I, well, like I had played it out in my mind beforehand. I was struggling with great disappointment confounded by the deepest love, and the feeling of being so small next to the mountain of Becoming Mother.
I needed to get out of the house. Do something normal and anonymous. So, I packed Charlie into his carseat, threw a sling in the back, the diaper bag, my wallet. Off we drove to the Storkes Nest in McKinleyville. Through the snow.
I probably ended up with the froggy design because it was marked down or something. I felt absolutely compelled to buy him a pair of these fancy baby shoes. In some way it felt like it validated him. They were the thing to have when Charlie was an infant. Surely if he had his own, he would somehow seem more normal. Just another baby boy. With trendy leather shoes.
It was cathartic to me to shop for him. To walk around that boutique. To show him off to the staff, who of course commented on his cuteness. (He was so cute.) I probably took far too long to pick them out. I probably compared each design, worrying too much about how people might prefer elephants over the frogs. Such a weighted decision.
Getting out of the house that day--if only to buy leather booties--it was like an initiation into Motherhood. A declaration that I can do this. I can pack my baby up in the car and go somewhere with him all by myself. I can remain calm if he fusses while I drive. I can figure out how to use the sling, and shop with my baby tucked in close to my heart. And while a $30 pair of shoes for an infant might be pitiable in comparison to his intrinsic value, that day it sure felt lavish to shower my son with such fine footwear.
Charlie wore those shoes far beyond the 6 month mark of their size range. His feet were so small. Calvin wore them for a shorter time. And Miles. I squeezed his little sausage feet into them for as many weeks as I could.
Now it is time to put them away, not in a box in the attic, but my sock drawer. I don't know how my sock drawer became the spot where sentimental things come to rest, but I like that as I rifle through the drawer in search of some lost sock, I come across things that represent moments of achievement and dear memories.
In you go little shoes.