As the days get cooler and night comes earlier, it is time for that rite of motherhood: the Clothing Swap. Pants the next size up, purchased at clearance prices last Spring, emerge from bins under the beds. Sweaters that were a tad too long last winter are tried on and hung up, ready for the coming crispness of October. Squeaky new, uncomfortable shoes are swapped for summer's stinky sandals.
It is the symbolic passing of time, marked in clothes grown too small, and the emergence of various items I hardly remember stockpiling months ago when prices were low.
Again, I delve into my hidden caches of seasonal stuff. I assess what we have-- what we need-- what we've outgrown.
I mark my children's growth not by marks on a wall, but by bins of outgrown garb labeled and finally relegated to the garage, awaiting the discovery of the gender of baby #3.
Half of these clothes will be gone this time next year-- whichever gender the baby isn't.
For so long, I could not let go of the outgrown onesies, the mittens, the jeans with snapping legs. It was too, too symbolic of me resigning myself to our completion of our family.
Happily, I'm folding the stacks more carefully this season. Because I know that all too soon, this baby I'm growing will need those clothes, eventually. The new baby. The baby we have yet to know. As I fold those shirts carefully away, I smile at the memories of my kids wearing it while doing _________. Playing. Singing. Even having a temper tantrum. I'll smile again the day these clothes emerge again from under a bed, the next size for "new baby" to wear.
I know, it's just stuff.
But the passing of that stuff might as well be the sands through the hourglass. Someday, I will look at these impossibly small garments, and then at my college aged children, and miss it all so much.