Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hand-me-down



It only takes a glimpse of a London Underground logo for me to be able to visualise the cracks, patches and inconsistencies in the pavement on the route between Clapham South station and my home six years ago. Similarly, a browse around Smitonius and Sonata or Kay Loves Vintage with the occasional quintessentially Dutch imagery, has me straight back eighteen years ago, working sixteen hour days and recalling the precise detail of the endlessly polished silver cutlery and a doomed first, ‘big’ relationship.

This morning I was sorting through our girl baby, hand-me-down clothing. It takes only a glimpse of this or that to bring flooding back the sleep deprivation, milky, musky smells, a head too heavy to support itself, a snuggled-in closeness, first steps, I’m-choosing-my-own-clothes-now-ness. Is that why, as I fold and sort, that I can’t resist burying my face in a jumper, trying to breathe in some of that history? Is that why, even though I am very pleased to pass them on to the babies of dear friends that I would also like them back when they are outgrown? Just to marvel at the smallness and softness and experience that clarity of memory, of a busy, fraught, wonderful, difficult time. Then I’ll fold them and sort them and pass on the hand-me-hand-me-hand-me-downs to be part of another small history.

18 comments:

Sandra @ Pepperberry and Co. said...

Ah, memories. Nothin' like 'em. Nothing like handin' over your kiddos to strangers and getting them back when they're 18, either :-) Lol!

Madeline said...

Oh, my. Sorting through tiny clothes does bring back so many memories.

Fran said...

you took the words out of my mouth, I thought it was only me who found it so hard to let go of those tiny clothes I no longer need. Every piece has a memory connected...it's so hard to let go.

beck said...

It's funny how we all feel so alike about those little baby clothes. I am so sentimental it's ridiculous. As well as having quite a few items from each child I think I also have nearly every drawing/painting they've ever done too. Storage is becoming a bit of an issue here...x

PaisleyJade said...

Amazing how smells can bring back memories...

One Flew Over said...

Such a timely post. My husband and I were talking this afternoon about raising kids and I commented 'will it get any easier?' ...(we have had a bad week, one with mild pnemounia and the other with an ear infection) and he answered that one day when they have their own lives, we will look back on this day and want to be right back in it..

elly bee said...

even now with my 8 year old boy I can hardly say goodbye to favorite clothes of him. I can only hand them on to people I really love and I when I know they realise it is as I give away a part of my life.
eb

Kaylovesvintage said...

sell them, save the money and come to see me,lol
I wish we meet in London( we where both living there the same time)

tifi said...

We just moved and I realized I have bins and bins of clothes from my children were younger. I just *knew* I'd make a quilt with them...someday. I plan to go through them this weekend, maybe I'll be able to handle giving some away without crying?

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

I know where you are coming from! We travelled a lot when my two were young so I didn't keep that much - I really wished I had of kept more of their little clothes. My 14 year old son is now nearly 6ft - it is hard to remember how small he was when he was born:)
Love your tactile images from your work post - wonderful that your job allows for some crativity. I don't have much opportunity for that in my day job:)

Nikki @ My Black Cardigan said...

Oh Tania. My heart is with yours. Your feelings torn between wanting your child to master each milestone and grow as happy, healthy little humans... and... staying as the bundle of perfection you brought home from hospital.

mushroomvillagers said...

Mmmm- the smell never goes away does it? I love to give and receive. Hand-me-downs are the best.

floortje said...

so recognizable....sweet memories of the first year, but at the same time (very) happy the grow older and you can have a conversation together..;-))

Loz and Dinny said...

were they ever so little?? That's what I can't believe each time I clear Edie's drawers of the too small numbers ... Dunc and I were only just saying today that while the sleep deprived exhausted you goes 'I can't wait for this stage to be over' the heart reminds you that all too quickly it will be a distant warm memory. Such a lovely post xx

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I love who they've become , but I only have to see little girls running as hard as they can , hand in hand in a park , or hear a solemn declaration that crocos and hippos live side by side ( Daddy says so) to feel all wistful .

Sandrine said...

I always got emotionally attached to their little tiny clothes...hmm they also remind you how life happens quickly and how important to make it a happy journey;)

kellyi said...

I know that feeling. I have whole bags of clothes that I can't bear to part with. I keep on thinking I will do some thing with them one day. Re purpose them in some way, but really, what can you turn 40 baby vests in varying shades of blue into?

Black Eyed Susie said...

You put the feeling into words so well.