Monday, February 10, 2014
Six degrees of separation
Sharpie in hand, I sat carefully labeling little tags in adorable little borrowed baby girl clothes. Ruth's little Autumn has outgrown them, and though Baby Gabe won't require pink tights any time soon, Ruth would like them back. That's not to say she is planning another child. It's not to say she isn't. Who knows? It's not about the future, it's about the past, and all the memories that those little clothes hold.
I totally get it. I have a little box of clothes that I can't part with. There have been other clothes that have moved along, but to get to the point when they finally move along they must go through a process. The levels or degrees, if you will. Degrees of separation.
They are as follows:
First degree - I push them to the back of the drawer. This degree is one delusion short of denial. Maybe my baby will shrink and need them!
Second degree - I put them in a tote in the garage. This gives the illusion that I have taken care of them. I like illusions. I have built my fragile grip on sanity out of them. There is a subset of this degree I have stumbled upon. Instead of a garage tote, a few of these items are filling my emotional needs as the outerwear on his stuffed animals, because fur on a fake dog is not enough, he needs a cute little monkey shirt as well.
Third degree - I loan them to a good friend, but I might want them back (this is the degree wherein lie Ruth's baby girl clothes). The idea of the loan is that I am storing them AT YOUR HOUSE. Now I feel really good, because I am keeping them, but I have freed up garage space for other important things like the broken washer and the two unused filing cabinets.
Fourth degree - I give them to a really good friend, someone I like; nay, love. Not any ol' pal will do. This has to be a woman I know will take care of the darling duds (I was really proud of myself when I got to this degree with Jonah's old clothes, but I will admit some stayed in Second Degree, subset dog shirt.)
Fifth degree - I give them to someone I know. Now we are getting down to the stuff my kid never really looked cute in. Well, lets face it, my kid looked cute in everything, but there are those items that lost their sparkle, figuratively and, well, literally. All those shiny bits tend to come off in the wash. I'm not saying they're crap or anything, but I probably don't have a cute "I remember when" story attached to them.
Sixth degree - I give them to charity. My favorite charity, of course. Because somehow we can micromanage even the things we give away. Unlike most people, I have been known to repair items before they go into the donation bag; tack a hem, sew on a button. I try to get stains out of little collars, and then I get sucked back in to the viscous power they hold, as I imagine myself feeding a wee-one who sits on a round bottom and with a gummy-grin, lets strained carrots spill from little pink lips onto the collar of that very outfit (in my vision I am a size six and my hair blows gently, even though we are indoors. Also, the part of me is played by Sandra Bullock and probably includes a catchy pop song sing-along where I dance around the kitchen. Aaaaaaaanyway...). Now I have a fab, albeit fabricated memory with the stained, 1992 hand-me-down-from-my-sister, sailor suit! How can I possibly give it away?!?!
Back to a tote in the Second Degree. That's okay. It's in good company.