Have you ever picked up one of your child’s toy, the one you’ve already picked up, it seems, 1,000,000,000 times already, and thought, “Is this the last time I put this away?” One day, it will be the last time. And you won’t know that it was. I gather summer clothes for the boys – trying to remember which one of the 4 boys wore which t-shirts, calculating who might fit into this one this year, and which ones are definitely too small and will no longer be worn by any person I birthed.
T-shirts I had once completely forgotten, bring back a memory here and there, “I remember when he picked blueberries wearing this.” These shirts were once, as familiar to me as the faces of my children. I don’t remember choosing to forget about these t-shirts when I packed them away last fall. But I did. And, just as quickly, I will forget about these familiar sweaters too, as I pack them away. I won’t even realize I’m doing it. But for now, as I lead my busy life washing and packing Winter clothes, freshening Summer clothes, buying new sandals for 8 feet, I pack the memories away.
But I’m setting the stage to forget. Children shed their childhood in layers, so quickly, so subtly, that we hardly notice it’s happening. I wonder. How much of my boy’s habits, “sayings”, dreams and wishes am I packing away with these sweaters? I know I’m doing this. But I can’t stop it. It’s like trying to catch a breath. (You can catch a footprint, here.)