A New Orleans attic is a treasure chest.
Our attics are a place to put things for safekeeping or a rainy day. While most things that go into an attic are often forgotten about, my attic contains a secret. Mixed among the Christmas decorations and the Mardi Gras beads, it is being hidden between the rafters and the insulation, but I am very away of its presence.
No, I am not hiding my life savings or any dead bodies, I am hiding a secret that is stuck between my head and my heart. It is my baby gear.
Tucked away and taking up lots of valuable attic space are items that I know I will never use again. My head and my heart know that this baby shop is closed, but there is something inside my heart that won’t let me part with the baby gear.
My husband and I have always agreed that we wanted two children. Whether the mix was two boys, two girls or one of each, no matter the combination, that was our happy place. And we have been so blessed with two little girls who we love more than anything.
But, there is something about the stuff that I am holding on to. I am not harboring some deep desire to have another one; that’s simply not the case. I know after my fertility journey, pregnancy in a NOLA summer, and the early infant stage, the baby chapter of my life is closed. Logically, I am there.
But then there is the emotional side.
It is a mix of feelings closing the door to another baby. I feel complete. I feel excited to move beyond the baby stage and do more things as they become more mobile. And I feel eager to see the people they will become.
But I also feel old. I feel sad. And I feel like a chapter has closed. I feel like if they no longer need the baby gear, they are getting big. I have already lost so much time with them as they are growing so fast. I am holding on to the baby gear as a way to hold on to them being little. I know they won’t be little forever and that makes me sad in a way. The magic of childhood is such a special phase that I am just not ready to look down the path of time to homework and braces. Yes, I am sure that has its specialness as well, but I am not ready to part with the younger years.
But as my infant is growing out of her newborn clothes and the early baby gear, I find myself repacking and relabeling the baby supplies and putting everything back into the attic
As long as the Rubbermaid bins of baby supplies are packed away in the attic, I don’t have to deal with reality. That somehow holding on to bins of 0-3 onesies is in someway helping me to hold on to them as babies. Or at least hold on to my memories of them as babies and the little things that you experience everyday when they are tiny. I am afraid to forget the way they look swaddled in their beds, sucking the paci in the swing, or the way the scrunch up their little legs when you pick them up. Or, that my four-year-old has glitter all over the house from dress up, her tea set is a fixture on our coffee table, and that at any moment you can hear singing in the playroom. I am trying so hard to burn those memories into my head and my heart.
I know that this makes no sense at all.
Maybe I am holding on to my youth as well. Perhaps this is some kind of crisis of my thirties. I still feel like my husband and I are the kids we were when we were dating. I am not sure how we got to be in our thirties, adults now with a house, two kids and real jobs. We are still those kids going off to college. How could we have gotten here so fast?
But just as always, while that door will close, a window will open. It will be the next phase of our life together with our girls. I know that there is so much ahead of our little family and so much that we will experience together. But my heart won’t let me part with those onsies.
I try to make it sound less crazy. I tell myself that I am packing it away for my sisters to use for their kids one day or perhaps my girls will want some of their baby clothes to use for their kids. This all sounds perfectly rational. But in my heart I know that I am secretly keeping them because it is a comfort to myself.
As I put baby supplies back into the attic, I turn off the light and fold up the stairs. I know that I don’t have to contend with my head or my heart as long as my attic is full. My secret, more so my emotions and memories, is safe among the Christmas decorations and the Mardi Gras beads.