I sat on my daughter’s toddler bed, with stacks of clothes and shoes at my feet. Do you know the feeling that you get as you methodically go through the clothing that your kids have abnormally quickly have outgrown? Holding, smelling, examining them trying to grasp the memories that they hold? And then having to choose which bag they will go in: to keep or donation. I always have such a hard time with that part so I put it off as long as I can. Moving usually forces me to downsize and the declutter bug hits. One thing I have never given away are the heirloom quality items like pretty Christmas dresses, special blankets friends have made, their blessing outfits and their Freshly Picked moccasins. Look, you can even see the start of her little footprints on the toes!
I remember telling my husband I couldn’t get rid of the kids’ baby clothes (among other things…) because they hold too much sentimental value. He jokingly explained that that kind of thinking was akin to a hoarder’s mentality. I laughed it off and made a note to myself that I could only keep what was truly sentimental and loved -not just because it was something someone gave me. I went through each item carefully and put it in a pile. And then I let it sit. And sit. Just so I could be sure. I kept what could be passed down to a younger sibling, items of sentimental value and heirloom pieces.
Isn’t it funny how the brain works. You can see an item, smell a familiar smell, hear a song and it triggers a million memories. As I pulled out my older daughter’s box of clothes that she outgrew to see if anything would fit Madeleine, I saw a few pair of moccs. I traced Adelle’s tiny little footprints imprinted in her little baby shoes. She learned to walk in these. She would walk along our street chasing our neighbors cat, GusGus. And now Madeleine will make her own little footprints with new memories in her own baby shoes.
And when I look at these a couple of years from now, it will remind me of how Madeleine would crawl around on the pavement with these on. At first I tried to prevent her from doing that because these shoes are too precious! But then I had to tell myself that this is their purpose. For these memories to be scratched into those tiny little leather shoes. I’ll remember her scratching them up as she crawled around waiting for her brothers to get out of school. And I’ll remember watching as she stood on her own- that smile of triumph as she realized she could let go. I’ll remember these moments as she wears down her shoes, chasing after her older sister as they play tag. I’ll remember holding her close as big brother slips on her moccs for another adventure.
**GIVEAWAY** The lovely people at Freshly Picked and I have teamed up to give away a pair of moccasins to one lucky reader! Go to my Instagram page to enter!
photos by seattle photographer christina judd