Home > Death, Family, Love, Parenting, Personal, Photos, Reflections, Relationships > Celebrating life: Tears, love, and one tiny suit

Celebrating life: Tears, love, and one tiny suit

I braved the garage to search for the handful of items left over from my son’s baby days.

Every item he wore was special to me, but I donated most everything to avoid clutter. I saved just one small box of about one cubed foot.

Sitting cross legged on the floor in front of the navy box, I pulled out the first few items. Each brought back memories of my son when he was still so, so very new to me. I smiled and traced my fingers over each until I reached a favorite I just had to photograph.

bear suit

I continued through my sorting-and-remembering journey until I reached the bottom of a second bin full of older boys’ clothing given my husband by one of his Big Bang Theory coworkers. There, beneath all the stuff much more recently worn by my son, I found a tiny suit.

mom suit

Tears welled in my eyes as I placed the suit on my lap, closed my eyes and remembered. I remembered walking through the kids aisles at Ross in search of a suit my son would too soon wear to a one-time event: my mom’s life celebration.

DSC00124

His joy in the face of his mama’s grief was a reminder that life went on. My mom wouldn’t see any more of his smiles, or curl up around him for comfort again, but my son would keep smiling all the same and fill some of my sorrow with the sweetness of new, exuberant life.

DSC00140

Knowing the outfit would never be worn again, I went against my spartan tendencies and kept it anyway. Items are just items, but certain items are like miniature time machines: touch them and you’re immediately transported to another time. I tucked away this suit knowing I’d look upon it again someday, but having no idea what that day would feel like.

With that suit in my lap, this me felt it all: the grief of loss, the joy of new life, the beautiful weight of my baby son in my sob-shaken arms. I felt it all and rejoiced. So much has changed since my son wore this suit. So much of that change has been for the better.

I spent much of my last pregnancy terrified. Would my mom live? Would she live long enough to meet her first grandchild? Would I do her love justice with my own child, taking the parts of her that were the source of my own ongoing strength and passing those on to him, leaving behind the harder parts? Would I be part of perpetuating cycles of abuse, or be part of creating a gentler world for the newest generation? I feared so much, and knew so little.

Now, I know. I know the answers to those questions and know the deep, unceasing love of motherhood. I know that I can’t know all the answers to new questions, and that I’ll do some–many–things wrong. I’ll learn from those and do better next time. I know that my mom will never hold my eldest child with her own arms again, but that she is part of every moment in which I hold him now. Her love will be part of each moment I share with the newest little one, once that little one and I have the joy of meeting.

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Tears flowed as I sat cross-legged on the floor awash in these thoughts, but not all tears are bad tears. This is the suit my son wore to his grandma’s life celebration. He has worn many outfits since, and will grow into hundreds more I can’t imagine now.

Life has done more than simply go on the last four years. My family has seized and celebrated life, a celebration I cannot wait to share with the little one whose tireless dancing makes me think he or she might already understand life better than me.

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  1. February 25, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Beautiful. You’re right, not all tears are bad tears. Tears shed in remembrance of a loved one are precious, and a testament to them and the impact they had on your life.

    • February 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      So beautifully put! Sometimes when people instruct others not to cry, it’s hard not to stop the dialogue underway and explore why we ought not cry. It can be healing, and if really is an affirmation of how much the people in our lives move us. I will keep the tears and all the rest.

  2. February 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    beautiful post

    • February 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you. Yesterday I told myself I wouldn’t post again for a few days, but there are moments where the words come spilling out regardless of any other intention . . .

      • February 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        That’s very true. Writing is an amazing way to release… sometimes we just NEED to write.

  3. February 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    What an inspirational post.

    So many emotions wrapped in one delightful little suit.

    Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

    • February 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I didn’t mean to write anything today, but this was a well timed reminder just days away from the four-year anniversary. Life isn’t always easy, but it sure is beautiful.

  4. February 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    So proud of you! “…not all tears are bad tears.” Not at all.

  5. February 25, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Lovely post. Made me feel happy and sad at the same time, quite a skill!

  6. February 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for this post; it really spoke to me. My mom was ill during my pregnancy (although I never really knew how ill). Three months after my daughter was born, my mom passed away–never meeting my daughter in person. I hate it that my daughter will only know my mother through me, but I know that my mom is with me on this journey of motherhood as well. Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing.

    • February 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you. I’m so sorry your mom and daughter never got a chance to meet in person, but glad for your mother’s continuation through you.

  7. February 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    This is gorgeous, Deb. I didn’t know your mother, but I imagine she would be proud.

    • February 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you. These particular words brought tears to my eyes all over again. I hope so. For all she feared what I’d say if I wrote about her, I sure am proud to be her daughter.

  8. February 25, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Wonderful post, spoke right to my heart. It’s amazing what motherhood brings to us. Having children gives a new perspective and the memories and joy a little article of clothing can provide are priceless..

    • February 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      I so deeply misunderstood motherhood before I became a mother! I am so grateful to understand now.

  9. February 25, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Absolutely beautifully written!

  10. February 26, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Good morning. Thank you for this brave, eloquent, poignant and lovely piece, written from the heart. Peace and love to all

  11. February 26, 2014 at 5:49 am

    This is a lovely mom moment, sharing what has been, what will be, and what is. It’s amazing as mothers what we endure, how strong we can be, how strong we HAVE to be, and ironically, how the small item can bring a tear. I revel in those moments, when my heart is taken somewhere it hasn’t been in quite some time, and I can look back briefly on how profound a simple memory can be.

    • February 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      I’ve spent the last day thinking (on and off) about how I wouldn’t have a baby shower or anything like it the first time around because of the possibility things might go wrong. One of the sweetest/hardest lessons in the last four years has been understanding the futility of living for the might-be when there’s so much is-now to savor with little moment seizers. ♥

  12. February 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Deborah, I am here writing this to you with a cloud of tears welling up in me. I think in this short piece you have captured so much. The beauty and innocence of a child, the connection of child to grandparent, the love and care by which a parent lives and the beauty of grief. Have a beautiful day and thank you.B

  13. February 27, 2014 at 4:55 am

    Tears and words spilled out of love are never wasted, not by you and not on others. Some day in the future you will share these with your children just as you share them with us. They will celebrate your great love, not just through your words but through your misgivings, your fears and they will laugh at you, yes they will laugh at you.

    We all do some things ‘wrong’. We make small missteps in our parenting. These are the normal acts of love and parenting. So long as we don’t throw our children to the wolves we can trust these are simply that, small missteps. So while we are stoking our fear, our children are creating big huge memories of our wonderfulness, making construction paper hearts for our refrigerator and defining rooms in their minds filled only with us to pass on to the next generation.

    You are fabulous and loved.

    • February 28, 2014 at 6:51 am

      This is where I feel so glad to be my mom’s daughter. There was a lot that was hard about it, but what I took away from the experience is that a great many mistakes can be made small by comparison to great, clearly expressed love. It’s still so illuminating to me how she remembered only the mistakes. I try to remind myself to see me the way she could not see herself: the bad and the good. There is plenty of each. I’m grateful for friends making it easier to see the good, which is sometimes easier to recognize in the abstract than the concrete examples. Thank you. ♥

  1. August 25, 2014 at 8:01 pm

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