Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Laundry Basket | Post 27

Dear Laundry Basket,

A year or two ago I saw a blog post a mama wrote to her son's blankie.  He had basically just, out of the blue, stopped "using" it.  She'd even try to sneak it back into his bed, but he didn't care about it.  It was no longer a signal of his trail, and where he was venturing off to... it was a signal of him leaving something behind, moving on and growing up.  I thought it was very sweet and honest, but that was about it.   My mama-friend who showed it to me, on the other hand, was a little misty and emotional while she read.

Another mama-friend wrote a short "Dear Breast Pump" letter with accompanying picture of the black machine when her babe stopped nursing.  The knee-jerk reaction I had (and apparently some other people who commented were like me) was to scrunch my face and think "...ew.  Breast pump notes?  On Instagram? Ohkay, moms."

You swear "I'll never let all I talk about be my pregnancy and my baby!"  "When I'm a mom, someone stop me if I'm posting weekly belly pictures or photo after photo of my kid during late nights... who cares?!"  But you make those promises before you've experienced it yourself, and before you get it.  Before you know how front-and-center every single part of this person's life is in your daily thoughts, your soul-searching thoughts and your conversation thoughts.  Before you know how your heart will embrace this person, much like your body does - stretched tight, filled full, naturally and without trying.  Once you're pregnant you watch your Human Making Factory do it's thing and somehow it just... happens!

And it never really leaves your mind.  What you believe and say and write about has more weight to it - "Would I teach that to my kid?  Do I really mean that?  Is that what I'd want him to hear me say?"  What you eat matters, and how you talk about your body getting all slashed and soft and uncomfortable matters, gaining weight matters - "Do I want him to believe that I was better 'back when'... before he came into my life?  When I didn't have the scars that prove he was in me?  Do I want him to hear a complaining woman, who is frustrated by... what he did to me?  Do I make food and eating so rigid and strict that it's not enjoyable anymore?  Do I make food and eating so lacking in self-control and health that it's not enjoyable anymore?  Do I talk about weight and size like I'm choosing cattle?  I don't want him to think 'Mom was beautiful because she was thin' - I want him to think 'Mom was beautiful because she was beautiful.'"  The topics are endless.  Money.  Church.  Treatment of friends and strangers.  Planning.  Education.  Personality.

But you don't realize, until you're pregnant, that getting cheese and sour cream and a side of chips at Chipotle can spark such swirling questions.  Before it was like "Eh, I should watch my calories."  Now it's like "But WHAT *IS* THE MEANING OF LIFE?!"

You make those promises before you know how many statuses and tweets and 'grams and pictures and texts and words you think of writing or speaking or posting, but you say "No, that's probably not necessary."  You make those promises before you know that you only share a sliver - maybe decimal point small - of what is in your head.  You catch yourself holding back all day long.  I appreciate my husband more than ever, and one reason certainly is that he never gets tired of talking about Baby Child either.  He happily spends a full hour discussing something like the position of our kid's spine or how excited we are to go on a family vacation with our own baby this summer.  No one else really wants to talk about that.  And it's okay.  I didn't either.

I wasn't moved to tears about blankies being forsook or breast-pumps being put away.  But now, Blue Laundry Basket, I'm experiencing the entry feelings of motherhood.  And I look at you, filled with clothes that my baby hasn't worn - most that were given to you, and I see their faces when I see that onesie or this footie-pajama or that jacket, and strawberry-sized socks for pink rice-paper feet, and blankets - so many blankets - and I get a little misty, too.   It feels funny to take perfectly clean clothes into the laundry room and wash them.  But the germs! So, I wash them.  Store germs and other people germs and hanger germs and gift box germs!  We must clean these germs.  But not with Tide.  Instead with dye-free, fragrance-free, toxin-free, baby detergent.  It takes a long time to fold an entire Blue Laundry Basket (let alone three) of baby clothes.  Because the clothes are very, very small and it takes a lot of very, very small clothes to fill a big basket, like yourself.  Small clothes like to pop back open after you fold them, too, so you have to figure out your system.  And small clothes are nearly impossible to not hold up and daydream about while you fold.

To be honest, if one of the clean blankets folded in you becomes "his favorite" and then one day, it's not anymore?  My heart will skip a sad little beat.  I know it.  He'll wear those clothes and most of the days will blur together.  But someday, in one of those outfits, something will happen, and I'll never forget it for the rest of my life.  A first smile or a roll-over or just checking him because he is still asleep...! Yes! or something.  Some of those clothes will get thrown away - stained eternally by his biggest blow-out yet.  I don't know.  I'm sure it will catch me off-guard.  In the same way I was caught off-guard with how long I sat there, staring at Blue Laundry Basket, like you were The Hope Diamond or an original Monet that had just been given to me.  The costumes for the set are in place!  We're just waiting for the actor to arrive and for the Director to say "action!" Someday those cotton cloths won't be ghost-apparel... they will warm and protect and decorate my child's body.  And, well, I guess I just had one of those moments.

I guess I underestimated what would cue my emotions and body to react so strongly.  When you dream about having a baby you don't dream about "the day he stops using his blankie!" or "the day the breast-pump is turned off for good!" or "the day you do their first load of laundry!" but when those days come they make the major-milestone list.

Thank you for being a part of the anticipation and memory of awaiting Ol' Boris Morris.  You're a good  Laundry Basket.  And I bet someday you'll be a boat or a fort or a crib or an airplane or a stage.  The best is yet to come.

With odd affection,
Mama Morris


9 comments:

  1. Stop this nonsense.
    It makes me want to cry.
    Last night I had the thought that if you went into labor right then I probably would wind up pacing the waiting room. I really can't wait for him to come. And to get to know him!

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  2. So perfect! And SO true! I always said I wouldn't let pregnancy take over my life...yet, here I am, and I love it!

    xo,
    Katie
    hellolittlebean.com

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  3. ( : AhlgrenFamily : )May 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    VERY well said.

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  4. beautiful. emotional. baby, come soon. :)

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  5. love this post. it makes me excited to be a mom someday. cannot wait for sweet baby Morris to get here!

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  6. Okay, that letter to my breast pump was my way of making peace with Quinlan's early self-led weaning! ;) You just wait, Miss Kristen. Just wait!

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    1. I know! And I LOVE it... now! Hahah Really. I think it's so sweet. I know I'm in for it. All "the things" already make me so emotional... you aren't crazy. I was just ignorant.

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  7. I love the thoughts of what the laundry basket will eventually become! My bet is on the fort. Or the airplane! Or maybe a mountain top? Time will tell :)

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