We got rid of our kids’ baby furniture today. More specifically, we sold it on eBay. Someone bid on it, won, and then came to my house and hauled it all away in a big black pickup truck.
I cried like a baby.
Not the kind of tears that roll quietly down the cheek as one is overcome with feelings of bittersweet nostalgia. Big, fat, sobby kinds of melancholic tears of sadness and disbelief.
I am in total disbelief that my babies aren’t babies anymore. I’m in disbelief that my babies need bigger furniture for their bigger bodies and their bigger needs. Bigger, bigger, bigger. Everything used to be so teeny tiny, and now it’s all about getting bigger.
So I watched as my children’s baby crib was taken apart, piece by piece, and then piled into the truck, rail by rail. We gave them the mattress too, as it was only gently used and easily cleaned, so they tossed that in the truck next. Then we handed over all of the nuts and bolts essential to putting it back together.
I remember the day we brought my baby girl home from the hospital and placed her in that crib for the first time, her tiny six pound body barely a spec on the horizon of pale pink linens. I leaned over the rail and watched as she napped peacefully, fixated on her beautiful newborn face, counting her endless little newborn breaths and feeling overwhelmed by indescribable emotions.
I remember one day my nephew slept over and he and my son hopped up and down on the crib mattress all morning like little crazy kangaroos, bouncing wildly until each child collapsed in a fit of unbearably adorable baby giggles.
When I was nine months pregnant with my daughter and nesting like a madwoman, I took on the task of raising the crib mattress myself while my husband was at work and my son was asleep on the couch. Determined, I yanked that crib away from the wall and heaved the mattress to the floor, then began screwing and unscrewing in the appropriate spots until the crib was ready for my baby girl. It took me all afternoon, probably two hours longer than it would have taken my husband (or anyone even the slightest bit mechanically inclined and/or not ten seconds away from going into labor). But, man oh man, was I one proud preggo.
After they lugged all the components of the crib aboard their truck, they moved on to the baby dresser. More tears streaming down. I’d stored more than clothes in the drawers of that pale wooden dresser. The messy bibs worn during baby’s first solid food meal, the red and green Santa pajamas designated for baby’s first Christmas Eve, miniature socks and hats barely big enough for a Cabbage Patch doll, a different onesie for each color of the rainbow, and probably every dinosaur tee shirt ever created; those drawers were jam-packed with some of my fondest memories.
Then I watched as they carted the last piece off: our changing table. I laughed between sobs recalling how my son, at one week old, had peed on his own face while lying on that changing table. Caught somewhere between horror and amusement, I was unable to react quickly enough to stop the powerful stream of newborn urine from landing directly in his eye. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry then, so it seems fitting to be simultaneously doing both now.
What is it about these mementos, these physical pieces of our children’s lives that are so difficult to let go? We needed to get rid of that furniture—we need both the space and the money. Logically, there was no alternative to selling it. But it breaks my heart to know my precious baby furniture is gone forever.
It brings me comfort to know that I’ll have memories of my children’s infant years forever, even if I no longer own the memorabilia itself. Those memories will bring me comfort as the years continue to pass and my babies continue to grow out of clothes and toys and beds. The memorabilia will pile up, I’m sure, and like everything else most of it will have to be given away.
But the memories will linger forever in my heart.