Hand Me Downs

We have been busy during all of this fog. I decided pretty quickly that all of Milo’s things needed to be put away. Not gotten rid of, just put away for now until the next step made sense. With that we decided to give Gabe his very own big boy room and fully decorate it just for him. It would also let us start painting and doing things to our house since we haven’t changed anything about it since we moved in.

It seemed easy enough to clean out all the obvious clothes, diapers, and carriers. But as we dig deeper into the corners of Gabe’s room, and now ours to remodel the closet, we find things of Milo’s. The hardest one I came across tonight was the winter coat that was going to be his this year. It was handed down to Gabe when we first moved here, from his cousins, and it was saved just in case we had another boy. It is a stark reminder of all the future we have lost. All the things that weren’t his, but were meant to be, and now never will be.

I love hand me downs. Nearly all of Gabe and Milo’s wardrobes were passed on to us from either my sister or various boy mom friends. I was really lucky in that aspect. If Milo hadn’t been a boy, he would probably have still worn most of the clothes I already had on hand. I’m just too practical that way. It’s been a mixed curse now. So few items of clothing were solely his – bought only for him. It hurts to remember Milo wearing them, but it’s happy to remember Gabe and my nephews wearing them.

I can’t imagine another baby wearing them now. I am not usually so attached to stuff. They are just objects, tools, material objects. It wouldn’t really hurt anything, except my Mama Heart. There are just so many things. Winter clothes, favorite tee shirt, and shoes – he hadn’t ever worn ‘real’ shoes yet! No clunky toddler in snow boots. No side by side comparison photos of him in the same outfits Gabe wore.

It just reminds me over and over of all the things I looked forward to with him. Normal things. I was so looking forward to seeing his hair grow and to see if it would turn into light fluffy curls like his daddy’s. It was lightening to a similar caramel brown color as Gabe’s. When would he learn to walk? He wasn’t even standing on his own yet, but he could cruise holding on like an old pro.

He had so many firsts. No seconds. I thought he had a first everything, except a birthday, but then I realized the day he was born was the birthday he got to celebrate. September 19 is the only day on the calendar he wasn’t alive. It’s just so tragic to think about so plainly. He was given such a specific amount of time to be here and I’ve been trying to shift my focus from what he didn’t get to do, but what he did. I now think about Gabe.

Who is Gabe going to pull on a sled this year? Who am I going to save Gabe’s clothes for? How am I going to continue to answer his questions about stuff that is for Milo? He still picks things out for him at the store. He has stopped asking when Milo is going to come back.


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