Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The End of an Era and a New Beginning

I've been cleaning out my house, slowly. I've made a lot of progress in the past year, and am making strides in letting go of things. When I was a child, I had a strong attachment to things and what they represented to me. This has taken many years to come to terms with. Giving away old clothes and things from my past has been a difficult process, but one I'm happy to say is far easier than it used to be. The more I let go of things, the easier it gets. It's a process and a journey. I'm finally feeling lighter.

My youngest child turned two this month, and I finally did something I've been putting off since he was born.

Yesterday I washed my maternity clothes, then sat on the couch, folding them before gently placing them in a big, gray, Sterilite box. I smiled at the warm softness on my hands, remembering fondly--and not so fondly--the many times I wore the blue dress my mother made me, the striped shirt, those black pants, giving thanks for cotton and spandex mingled in wondrous ways.  Then I loaded up the van and drove to Once Upon a Child, a resale store, hoping to turn them into some cash for my kids' winter clothes. They only wanted one shirt. (They said the rest were too outdated and they didn't need any more. Oh, well.)

So, last night, I posted an offer on our local Freecycle e-loop, and got several requests. I ended up offering them to a woman who gave all her maternity clothes away--then found out the next week she was pregnant. She called me back and I gave her directions to my house between beeps of my dying phone, which was a real accomplishment!

A couple of hours ago, a car drove up. "Someone's walking to our house!" the kids yelled. I took the bag of clothes, went outside, and shut the door in the dog's barking face. (Really, he's way too protective of me--but I'd rather have him scare everyone who comes to the door instead of no one.)

The woman came up to the step, full of gratitude. Being only eight weeks along, she wasn't showing yet, but I know that when you're pregnant, clothes begin to constrict before anyone else can see. Her face lit up at the sight of the full bag. "Oh, thank you so much!" she said.

"I'm so glad you can use them!" I replied. After a moment of chitchat, she left, hurrying to her next destination.

I used to agonize about giving my maternity clothes away, like it meant an end, a finality that I wasn't ready to come to terms with. It was only after she left with my black trash bag of clothes, that I realized what I was feeling:


Nothing but the sweet sense of having helped a mother with her journey in bringing a precious life into the world. I'm happy that instead of sitting around collecting dust, my out-of-style maternity clothes will be used as they were meant to be.

After all, the clothes were just those--clothes. What really matters to me is life and love, not things. I'm so thankful that the Lord is helping me internalize this and is giving me the ability to let go and bless others in whatever small ways I can. And in doing this, my life is simplified and I am blessed, along with my family.

So, goodbye maternity clothes. May you continue to bless the lives of expecting women until you are full of holes and ice cream stains.


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I'm on this same journey, the letting go, the organizing, the convincing of myself that I'm not making myself less by saying goodbye to stuff.

This is our last child, so there will be a lot to let go of as the months go by. I find that I'm actually looking forward to it. It's a step forward, and there's so much on the horizon to be excited about!

Helmbunch said...

I am so proud of you Rebecca. I still have one maternity shirt. The first one I got--I thought I would save it for the day I could give it to that precious daughter. It is hard to let go--you did a great thing!!

ali cross said...

Aw. This is huge! It's hard to know you wont' be having any more babies, that now you'll be growing them UP.


Cantwell Chaos said...

Ice Cream stains indeed!!!

Your blog post makes me realize that even though I had to part with large totes of baby clothes, so that we could get moved last year, they have blessed the lives of others...I hope! This pregnancy was ... unexpected ... but planned ...

I was very frustrated at first that I don't have any of my infant clothing that I had so carefully saved for all those years. I am beginning to realize that it's okay. Some day, when Heavenly Father is done sending spirits to our home, I will pack up the rest of the clothing and baby stuff and gladly hand them to someone who needs them. That will be a blessed day! LOL!
Thanks for sharing!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I love freecycle, and I love giving stuff away. But I used to be like you, very attached to stuff. BTW, will I see you at our signings on Saturday?

mindyluwho said...

This is just what I needed to read as I have been in the process of giving away things. It's a painful process and one that has been oh so time consuming, because I have been slow and indecisive as to what needs to go. All I know is that I have wasted too many years in the hanging on to things that have just cluttered up my life. Thanks for the encouragement!