Our little guy has just recently been transitioning out of his 6- to 9-month clothes and into his 9- to 12-month clothes. I took some time to clear out the 6- to 9-month clothes and have been spending a little bit of time adding in his 9- to 12-month clothes each day. It is fun to look through clothes that we bought before he was born or early on that he is now fitting into and thinking about the last year and the little guy.
But, this week, as I folded and put clothes away, my hands wrapped around a particular onesie. It does not look very special, but it was flooded with memories and emotions.
When I was about 10 or so weeks pregnant with Colette, my husband and his good friend went to Las Vegas for a few days. I was definitely struggling with morning sickness and some dizziness, but also was so glad to be farther along than I had ever been and so optimistic about the pregnancy that I did was the one who encouraged Mark to go, even after he had said he wasn’t going. In fact, the timing worked out perfectly because we had our first OB appointment just days before he left and agreed that if the OB seemed positive about everything, there was no reason for him to stay home. Before he left, I joked and said you do have to bring home something for baby.
And he did. This simple onesie that he found in Las Vegas, that he said was hard to find, but was also really cute—a tie-dyed onesie with a cute dolphin on it. It was the first item we bought for our child, something we never had enough time to do with Sweet Pea. I lovingly saved it away and honestly kind of forgot about it. After Colette died, we donated a few items and the rest that we did not know what to do with, we hid away in the closet in her room, one of those attempts of adulthood to say well, if I just store it away, I don’t have to think about it.
When it appeared like Elliott was in fact going to come home, we went through that closet again and took some of the clothes to put into the ever-growing collection of gifted and purchased clothes that he could wear.
Again, I saw this onesie and thought, wow, we still have not been able to use this. We added it to the pile, where again it was forgotten as we dealt with newborn-sized clothes, 0- to 3-month clothes, 3- to 6-month clothes, and 6- to 9-month clothes.
As I pulled it out, knowing that Elliott could in fact finally wear it and even more so knowing that it had to go on immediately, I thought about what the onesie meant. A purchase made at a time when we were so innocent and naïve to think that making it to 10 weeks or our OB telling us that she saw no reason why we could not announce the pregnancy equaled a baby coming home and growing to be able to wear a 12-month sized onesie. A purchase that went from lovingly stored away for the proper time to something thrown in a closet, out of sight, out of mind, a purchase that reminded us of a child we were so excited to bring home and then to live in a knowledge that we did not even know if that was possible. A purchase that was made in February 2018 that we finally, finally got to put on a child in June 2021.
The emotions were overwhelming.
While it felt like such a victory to be in that place, to see our little guy wearing the physical remembrance of our dreams, of our goals, of our hopes, it also felt like a punch to the gut, to tell us that while we are so incredibly grateful to have Elliott here, we also have two big pieces missing in the puzzle of our family. I was so touched to have Elliott wearing something that originally should have been his sister’s, to have that moment where it felt like the normal act of hand me downs between siblings came into play, but yet so hurt and sad that it had taken over three years to be able to use that onesie.
Looking at it reminded me of a different mom, a different woman, someone who loved to wear bright colors, who could totally (and did!) rock a tie-dyed shirt, who viewed the world in the best possible light, a mom, a woman who was extinguished by her daughter’s death and who could no longer view the world as bright and colorful and full of wonder and yet desperately wanted to have that feeling again. I saw in it a woman who believed getting pregnant was the goal, the final stop, who then learned that not only was getting pregnant not the final stop, but it was actually the beginning of the worries.
And yet, when I actually put it on my son, all I could think of was how adorable he looked, how the colors offset his blond hair and blue eyes, and how finally after all that time, we could dress a child of ours in it. I am so honored to be LL Cool T’s mom and so glad that we are just days away from our first anniversary of parenting a living child and more importantly, of Elliott’s first birthday, yet so sad that we missed three years of birthdays and have a lifetime more to miss of Colette’s life.