Heart Leaks · Parenting

The Strawberry Dilemma…

Like most moms, I’m forever folding and hanging laundry. I have two little girls and so my dryer lint trap is always chocked full of pink sparkles. It looks like a Drag Queen might live here, and I love it. Truthfully, this is my happy place (the glitter I mean… not the laundry room itself). However, last night I found myself in one of those “mom” moments that catch you every now and then when you least expect it. I came across a favourite pink shirt with a strawberry on it. Truthfully, it had been sitting at the bottom of the laundry hamper for a bit. I know this because the shirt is a size 2T. My youngest is now wearing a size 3….

Panic…

Is she really already grown out of this shirt? I had actually gone through her closet after Christmas and had been embarking on an ongoing quest to round up all the size 2T to either bin up for later “just in case” or to be donated elsewhere. But the pink shirt… the favourite pink shirt with the strawberry… did I really need to take it out of her closet?

Thank you monthly hormones for taking the simple task of folding laundry, and using it to send me into a tailspin. I scanned old instagram photos because I remember posting pictures of her when she first got this shirt. This adorable, favourite shirt. The photos were posted a year ago. My tiny-pigtailed toddler walking around the mall with her older sister, holding hands because she wasn’t yet totally steady on those feet. A year ago……

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My nearly preschool aged toddler has much longer pigtails now, and she can out run her sister in a blink. A year from now she is going to be as tall, if not taller than her older sister if she keeps growing like she has been. I know all this. I joke about this often, how “she’d go to kindergarten tomorrow if they’d let her!” I’ve always been proud (very challenged…. very tested… but proud) of her growing independence. But for some reason… sitting here, clutching a too-small tiny pink shirt…

The tears start to spill onto the little strawberry. I call them “mom” moments because it’s the only way I can really explain them. Those moments when your heart leaks out of your eyes a little. Those moments when your heart needs to catch up with your brain. My brain has been spending the last little while sorting clothes, what’s too small, what can be donated, what will fit this summer, etc….. organizing…. labeling…. boxing up….

But the heart… oh my mothers heart. It catches me off guard every now and then. It creeps in and whispers “she’ll never wear this again….” and I know it’s because she will never be this little again….

Most clothing/toy items don’t do this. Usually I get caught up in the excitement of “OH MY GOD GET ALL THIS CRAP OUT OF MY HOUSE! WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!” And toys and clothes get binned and bagged up. Sent to Bibles for Missions, Once Upon a Child, or to a friend with a little girl just a bit younger than mine. But every now and then, those few favourite ones come across your hands and you don’t want to let go.

If it’s something that both my girls have worn and loved, then its a double whammy. The little gold dress that saw many church services and weddings…. The “World’s Sweetest Sister” shirt that constantly needed to have the sleeves bleached….  Those special few that pull at your heart just a little.

“Just put it away” my heart says, “just in case…”

I think that’s when the heart starts to pull most of all. The longer you tell yourself “just in case…” the stronger the likelihood is that there may not be another “case”…..

At what point do you stop putting things away? At what point do you stop folding the dress carefully, hug it close, and then gently place it in a bin full of other clothes and items that you are storing away “just in case”… At what point do you close that door and walk away?

I hear women talk all the time of “feeling done” … of knowing that the size of their family was perfect and they felt complete.

When will I feel done? Will I ever? Does it matter? Having two, healthy kids and wanting another seems selfish somehow. Like I’m already blessed with way more than I should have ever been given in the first place. Am I being greedy? Selfish? Times are so tough right now and it seems almost delusional to entertain the idea of another baby. I have a responsibility to the two we have, to give them the best shot at life I possibly can. I know how much it will cost over the years to clothe and feed them, to have them in activities, to save up for post secondary education…. My brain knows all this. My brain knows that the world is built for a family of 4. That everything would be so much easier with our little family of four. My brain knows this…

And then I find a tiny pink shirt with a strawberry on it… and my heart just can’t catch up. xo

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