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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.