It all started when I saw this picture.
It’s one of my favorites. I love her expression, her sweet face, her dress. My mom framed it and put it on the table in the entryway – so that it would be one of the first pictures you would see when you entered our house. It must have been one of her favorites too.
I started thinking – where IS that dress? I know I saved it. I think I knew even before I was pregnant with Selah that there would be another girl in my future and for that reason I kept as many of Macy’s clothes as I could.
But where was it now? Macy’s closet? My closet? Mom’s closet? I dug a little in Macy’s closet and came up with two Easter baskets that my mom had bought before she died for Macy and Selah – complete with goodies to fill them. I dug a little in my closet and came up with giant tubs of My Little Pony’s and Barbies I didn’t even know Mom had saved. And I didn’t have to dig in my parent’s closet – it’s so clean that I just took a quick glance and knew there were no Macy clothes in there. Although I knew he wouldn’t know, I asked my dad. No clue.
I knew I had packed Selah’s baby clothes away, but I thought there were only little people clothes in that space saver bag. But when I went looking for some 9 month stuff for baby Kate, I found the mother load. Literally. I found all of the Macy clothes I was looking for – 3T jeans, 3T t-shirts, 3T dresses. I even found 3T footed pajamas. I had forgotten she had worn any of these. To top it off, I found Selah’s entire 12 month wardrobe, complete with polka dot tights.
And yet, my excitement about having finally solved the mystery of where the Macy clothes had gone vanished quickly as I pulled out item after item. A flowered dress that my mom picked out and bought. A pair of Christmas pajamas that my mom had picked out and bought. An outfit that my mom and I had together picked out and bought. It was painful. Some of them I could actually remember the occasion, the store, the aisle we were in. Some of them were bought the October or November before she died.
It seemed kind of fitting to find these now. This is my sad season – my time when the loss of my mother feels heaviest. We arrived in the US on October 8th, celebrated my mother’s birthday on November 11th, spent our last Thanksgiving and Christmas with her, took her to the emergency room on Selah’s birthday – December 31st – and lost her on January 5th.
And here I am, on October 9th, holding back tears while I go through some old clothes.
Soon Selah will wear these clothes. And then in a few years, some of them will probably make their way to Kate. And then one day I’ll realize that I don’t have any more clothes that my mother bought. And I will feel sad, again.
But they are only clothes. They are just one tiny piece of my mother – of who she was, of what she liked, of how much she loved my girls – all three of them, whether she knew it or not.
So thank you Mom. I love you.