The Things We Keep

I’m surrounded.  Sitting on the floor in the midst of piles of clothes.  Piles of giveaways and keeps.  Keep for next year if big enough or keep to donate. Keep to give to the sets of boy/girl twins we know or the final pile, the KEEP FOREVER pile.

The things we keep.

The shoes are what do me in the most.  Where they ran. Where they played.  What they saw and who they heard.  Was it loving and positive or was it rushed and blurred.  What slides they conquered for the first time. What sand and mud is still stuck to the bottoms.  The paint that dripped from an art project. The stuck on food.  The tread worn in just a certain place where their little feet are already forming their lifelong pattern of walking a certain way.  Leaving their imprint on the world.  The times they fell and fell and fell and yet each time, they got back up and tried again. The way they laughed when you held their hands and led them to an adventure of the everyday.  How they hugged each other and made sure the other was okay.  How they wanted to make sure you saw it all.

The things we keep.

I am not sentimental.  At least not in the KEEP ALL THE THINGS kind of way.  So this is new territory for me.  I am not someone who kept really anything from childhood or my younger years.  I just figure I have the memories and maybe some pictures, so why do I need the physical reminders of days gone by?  I write.  That’s how I keep all the things. But now I have 8 million photos and videos, both from before they were born to now afterwards, and the art projects.  Yes, the art projects.  I am keeping all the best ones.  The holiday ones.  The ones that made my heart jump when I first saw them or more importantly, made their little hearts jump with excitement to show me.  I keep those.

But these clothes.  These shoes.  The things we keep.


The weeping and wailing.  It begins.  My husband kindly checks on me but knows I just need this time.  I need to grieve.  To mourn.  To cherish and remember.

I use this time, and these seasons, to really go back and remember and keep one or two things from each season of their lives.  Of their development.

The things we keep.

Last year when Spring emerged after a long Winter, it was their first time walking outside on their own two feet.  The sandals that at the time seemed to dwarf their feet were almost an inch too small by the Fall afterwards.

The pajamas that were worn and washed so many times that the pilling became bothersome and the tread on the footies began to wear after many snow days spent running around the house without actually ever putting on real clothes.

The sweatshirts that dwarfed their tiny frames at the beginning of the season when you used harnesses because they weren’t so good at holding hands, and yet by the end of that season they were listening and so much better at holding hands and the sweatshirts no longer dwarfed, but rode up on their ever lengthening arms.

The poofy flowery Summer dresses that were given to us by a friend with a daughter who died from Cancer far far too young, made me smile every time she wore them.  They still do and will forever be woven into both our family stories.

The sleeveless t-shirt on my boy with the tiny arms and shoulders that will always tug at my heart.  The cut off jean shorts that were the only ones that fit him because he had no real bottom to hold any others up.

They were so little.  They are so little.  But they won’t always be and already I grieve and mourn the loss of their being little.  AND THAT IS OKAY.  We want them to grow up healthy and strong.  We want them to progress.  But with each season of life, the only way to move forward is to go through the process of feeling the feelings, appreciating the moments, honoring that time, and moving on.

Because what happens when we go up a size?  What happens when we move onto another season?

Everything.  Everything happens that we open ourselves up to. Just watch them learn and grow and appreciate what is around them and share in their joy.  RIGHT NOW.

Because of course it’s not really about the clothes or the shoes or even the art projects, but rather it’s about the time and the experience.  The memories you make.  The impact you have.  The appreciation for the life right in front of your face. Don’t miss it by looking back or looking forward. Look straight in front of you and see it.

The things we keep.

And every once in a while take some time to go back and remember.  Cry. Laugh.  Cry some more.  That’s how you know it was really good.


See also – Babies Grow Too Darn Fast.


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