Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Swaddling Clothes

Each one of my children was swaddled with expertise and love literally hundreds of times as an infant. 
Grace was the first.

Each one had two or three swaddling blankets- and from these, for each of our four children one slowly emerged as the One.  The favorite.

The one that, when swaddling days were over, was set apart as the one, favorite, irreplaceable comforter.  The blanket.  The. Blanket.

And we still have four Blankets, or, what's left of them- tattered with endless hours of love and rest and tears and imagination.

But Grace was the first.

And this is about her Blanket. 
It was, at one time, pink.
It is now, not. 
And it has been stretched to 3 times it's original size.

At age two, the blanket became a buddy through play time, and a soother for night. 
It was slung around her neck when arms were full, it was useful for swaddling "babies", or willing dogs.

Then at age three, things got more creative. 
It became long "hair", or a bridal veil, or a long princess dress.

And at age 7, Grace is still finding countless ways to wear her most treasured possession and faithful accessory- like in these snapshots from August of this year.

All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.-Isak Dineson

Losing the intimate details of my children's youth is a sweet sorrow.  But my heart bears it as I carefully store and archive our photographs, and when I feel especially warm, or bittersweet, I write.  And that keeps the moment in a way, when time won't stop for me. 

I can bear to lose your tiny, newborn shape, and your days as a cautious toddler, and your "princess phase" and these last days of childhood innocence and unbroken creativity as the Tween Years approach too quickly.  I can bear to lose that awkward smile you make when you're trying to look older, and I can bear to lose your "7 year old teeth" and the way you pronounce big words with pride and authority, and the way you eat a sandwich because I know I can't keep them from fleeing, but I can store them up in my heart where they're meant to be. 
I've tried to savor the sweet moments, or the rough moments, before they pass- so they can do their work and not slip away.  When something gets to me, I let it get to me.  And let that compel me to be a better Mom today than I was yesterday- and can't we hope I'll be even better tomorrow?

I hope I'm doing well.


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