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Love forever ours

“I threw away his pants.”

You what?! my expression must have screamed, for she continued nervously.

“They were such a mess. I mean, they were ruined. Trust me. Poop. All. Over. So I threw them out.”

I thought of twenty different things I wanted to say to my baby son’s temporary care provider, but none would be useful. I opted instead for a simple, “Which pants were they?”

“Just some brown ones … ”

Ugh. Those “just some brown ones” were special to me. My blogging friend Peg had sent them to me for my baby son, Littler J, so that I smiled every time I saw them. “Just” a pair of pants, they reminded me how my “real,” day to day life has been brightened by the caring of people I’ve only met–so far–online.

little brown pants

As I collected my son, I felt saddened by change. My sadness was about more than a pair of pants. It was about how Littler J’s real caregiver had been let go of a couple weeks ago. “We’re closing the baby room,” the school’s owner blurted out then. “Miss J’s last day is tomorrow.”

But the baby room has been here forever! Miss J’s calm, smiling face has been here since Li’l D’s very first day, long before I knew there would ever be a Littler J! Li’l D has loved knowing his brother is just down the hall! I was only just getting used to my new job and my new commute and this whole new world and you’re telling me I need to create and get used to a new one?!

Miss J left along a trail of my family’s tears. For months, she has tended not only to his physical needs but also to his heart. His face lit up every time he saw her. He’d wiggle happily toward her.

The school is now providing interim care, but that care is offered by not-Miss J. It’s a tending to his physical needs by people trained to nurture little kids, not tend to babies’ unique ones.

I wasn’t surprised when his temporary care provider said she’d thrown away Littler J’s pants because they were poopy. She doesn’t know that babies would have no wardrobe left if parents threw out every piece of clothing they soiled.

I could have told her this. I could have chewed her out. It just wouldn’t have changed anything.

I felt sad about that pair of pants all through the evening. About how it reminded me the school will soon and once again be only Li’l D’s.

The ache carried over to today.

Then, singing to my baby as I patted him toward sleep this morning, my eyes landed on a little patch of brown atop my husband’s dresser.

I pulled it out of a heap of baby clothing and saw it was a little pair of brown pants.

And I smiled.

Because Peg hadn’t just sent one tiny pair of brown pants. She’d sent two. One was sized 0-3 months, the other 3-6 months. I still had the smaller pair.

Better still, I had a flash of insight thanks to that tiny patch of cloth clutched in my fist.

Littler J outgrew them months ago. He would have outgrown the bigger pair in a matter of weeks.

Outgrowing them wouldn’t change the fact we’d experienced the care they represented. They wouldn’t change the love with which they were sent, nor the love with which they were received. They wouldn’t change how little things like pairs of pants relieved some of the heavy burden of post partum depression.

Those pants–and what they represent–will forever be a part of how I experienced Littler J’s early life. That is an unchangeable part of the support I feel as I step through my days now.

Similarly, Littler J’s first car ride home will always be in a onesie blogger Georgette sent me. As Littler J’s great grandma leaned over and sheltered her newest great grandson from the wind and sun that morning, I saw the sweetness of that moment and of the ones that led the onesie to us. Where that onesie is now has nothing to do with the unchangeable goodness of its having reached me in the first place.

going home

Lisha sent my boys matching shirts. She’d had “Littler J” emblazoned on the smaller shirt’s pocket, and “Li’l D” on the larger one’s. Li’l D no longer fits his, and Littler J will grow out of his soon. But always, always I will remember the day my sons wore those shirts, and the moment my bigger boy lifted my littler one onto his lap with the tender, protective look of a new big brother.

These articles of clothing are artifacts of cloth; the facts of their being in our lives, artifacts of heart.

Cloth quickly fades and tatters. But hearts? If we are so lucky, they beat on and on for decades.

My heart beats on. My little boys hearts’ beat on.

We’ve lost a pair of pants, but we’ve kept something much bigger: the love and support they reflect. Those survive long after any physical artifacts.

And Miss J? Though she may no longer be a part of our day to day lives, the love she gave my Littler J will forever be part of his knowledge of love.

The facts of day to day life will change. Pants will be lost, baby rooms will close and beloved teachers will say farewell.

But the love? New acts of love will come, never to displace or replace the ones that preceded them.

Change comes. Change goes. But love, once given, is forever.

Forever reminding. Forever inspiring. Forever ours.

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  1. February 21, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I love the idea of the two pairs of pants in different sizes

    • February 21, 2015 at 9:00 am

      On a practical level, it was awesome knowing we had some pants coverage for at least six months. (These ones were well made and lasted well beyond their stated age range!)

      On an emotional level, turns out there were other benefits. 🙂

  2. February 21, 2015 at 9:22 am

    littler is a lucky child to have so much attention given to him, amen

    • February 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Exactly so! The nurturing he receives now will be part of the strength he later uses to set forth on his own.

  3. February 21, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Your wisdom, insight and thoughtful stopping to breath and look inward; it always causes me to stop and do the same. I am so always grateful, always feeling blessed after I read you. My hugs go around you and all of yours this morning for lifting me up with this one.

    • February 21, 2015 at 9:27 am

      I was seriously ready to cry … over a pair of pants. And then I saw that second pair of pants, and was so thankful for the opportunity to see so far beyond it.

      Today I wore a tattered Oregon Ducks sweatshirt my mom picked up at a garage sale. For once, I wore it feeling OK at the knowledge I won’t always have it. For I will always have the moment of its giving, and the feeling of my mom in all the wearings I will have eventually gotten from it.

      And, of course, the memory of that sweatshirt is now bound together with the love of this community. It is all bound together, and it is all beautiful.

      So much love to you, beautiful friend. ♥

  4. February 21, 2015 at 10:11 am

    Isn’t it funny how things can tug at our heartstrings like that? My house is filled with chipped, cracked and worn items given to me or inherited from folks who aren’t here any more. Once in a while my husband throws one away, but I always find it, always retrieve it. Because some things are just irreplaceable.

    • March 8, 2015 at 5:32 am

      It really is! My mom had very little when she died, so that my keepsakes from her are few. These include a couple of knick-knacks she sent me when I moved away from my hometown and a few latter day items: the pink shirt she wore frequently her last few months, the little heart-shaped pillow I used for nursing Li’l D where she could watch, and her corner curio cabinet. They don’t look like much, but they are priceless to me.

      Actually, one of my accidentally deleted posts mentions something similar to what you’re describing. I talked about trying to do a sweeping clean of my house. I threw away some really, really old make-up, including some eye shadow I’d bought with my mom for the one and only dance I ever attended. The eye shadow stayed thrown away for all of two minutes before I fetched it out. It was a miniature time machine to me, taking me back to when Mom proudly helped get me–her tomboy!–ready for that dance. Just a little bit of eye shadow … but so much more.

      • March 8, 2015 at 7:12 am

        I read this comment right after unloading the dishwasher. There were a few plates in there from the set my late sister Judy and I picked out for my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. I rubbed the edges as I often do, and then turned to your comment. Ah well.

      • March 8, 2015 at 7:29 am

        I couldn’t find this song before I hit send. But then I did. It fits here:

  5. February 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

    You know what? I was thinking of you last night. Wondering when our paths will cross, and I’ll get to hug those precious boys and their beautiful mama. And today I see this and I know that even if our paths never cross we’ll be lifelong friends. “Because love, once given, is forever.”

    • March 8, 2015 at 5:35 am

      I’m replying to this post belatedly, but … in a way I’m glad, because that means I get to experience its sweetness twice over. Lifelong friends, indeed! ♥

  6. February 21, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Lovely and wise. Thank you and hugs to you and your beautiful family, woven together with love–the only threads that really matter….

  7. February 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Oh goodness, you make my eyes water with this one. I’m so glad we met when we did; however meeting is not so important when as you said to Valentine above, “For I will always have the moment of its giving…” I feel similarly on the other end of ‘giving’. So glad that “onesie reached” you and your family.

    And, you make me think, L’il J is almost one.

    • March 8, 2015 at 5:37 am

      That onesie is tucked away in a little bag marking J’s first weeks. Someday I hope we’ll pull it out and I’ll be able to explain to him how it reached us.

      For now, I marvel at the thought he really is almost one. How did that happen? I just brought him home from the hospital!

      Much love to you, this Sunday and always. ♥

  8. February 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Just want to say how much I love that you let us see their faces. I hate those black strips over face pictures … I don’t see how they make anyone safer (stalkers haunt real places, not blogs, surely!) … and they’re such a depressingly creepy reminder of ugliness. So… thank you… 🙂

    • March 8, 2015 at 5:42 am

      I went hog-wild for a while sharing pictures and videos of Li’l D. Then I went through a really restrictive period where I showed only back pictures and funny angled ones, or put little hearts over his face. Now I’m back into remembering the principles that guide me in my writing and to feeling OK posting them a little more clearly. They are such a huge part of my life and love in this world of few guarantees!

      Gonna shoot you an email in a second here.

  9. February 21, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Oh. Oh. I love this.

  10. February 22, 2015 at 7:34 am

    Aw, Deb, This is so sweet. I’m sorry the boys are losing Miss J. Little ones are resilient, but they do best with stability. As long as their parents are stable, as you are, they will be fine.
    I’m happy those pants we’re actually used so much they got pooped out!

    • March 8, 2015 at 5:53 am

      I think you’re right about the stability. There’s a little more change ahead, but every day, I feel that stability more and more myself … which translates to that being a part of their foundation. ♥

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