An honest take on life and parenthood

Let It Go

on April 14, 2014

Every six to nine months, I weed out the Pooh’s closet. I give away the best clothing and shoes to friends, and donate the rest. This bittersweet exercise forces me to confront the fact that she is growing up faster than I would like to admit.

Since the Pooh is an only child, and indulged by everyone around her, she has a RIDICULOUS wardrobe.

Both grandmothers buy clothes for her. My sister sends clothes. Her godmother mails clothes. Because I love fashion, I can’t help myself, and I buy clothes. Even my friends send clothes for her.

Consequently, the Pooh has a collection to rival Blue Ivy.

She has flouncy dresses fit for a princess, colorful play clothes, and pajamas for every season. Her shoe rack is stacked with sparkly mary janes, Abby Cadabby slippers, and light-up sneakers. She owns hair bows and headbands in every color imaginable. Real pearl earrings and a tiny pearl bracelet rest in her jewelry box, along with fake bling.

So like it or not, I have to sort through her clothing periodically.

It is now April, she is four, and here we are again.

I tackled her closet two weeks ago and forced some tough love on myself. I decided to finally give away some of my sentimental favorites. You know, the ones I’ve been holding onto for two and three years.

I sorted her clothing into two piles: one pile for Farah Rose, one pile for Vivian. In each one, I placed fluffy dresses and pajamas and onesies and warm slippers, thinking of the two little girls who would wear them.

As I sorted, I tried to stay stoic. I told myself, “I don’t have room. The Pooh can’t wear it anymore. Farah Rose and Vivian will look super cute.”

But oh! What memories.

The Biscotti dress with the pale pink tulle skirt and bodice decorated with satin rose petals and pearls –

The Pooh was 16 months old. We stopped by a boutique children’s store in Malvern, Pennsylvania to browse. She saw the dress and scooped it up in her tiny arms, and refused to let it go. It was so lovely that I could not resist buying it for her. She later mugged for pictures like a Park Avenue princess.

The Biscotti dress

The Biscotti dress

The charcoal grey wool Jacadi schoolgirl dress with peter pan collar, matching tights, and black patent leather shoes –

She toured Providence City Hall in it and charmed everyone she met, including the Mayor.

The smocked white cotton dress sprigged with tiny flowers –

She wore it one sunny day in Center City Philadelphia when she was 20 months old.  Businesspeople were taking lunch outside near a large fountain. She ran delighted baby laps around and around the fountain as everyone smiled at her.

Her lavender snowflake footie pajamas –

I bundled her into them after her evening bath in the winter. She smelled of Johnson’s baby shampoo as we’d snuggle and read The Runaway Bunny. Pressed up against me, she would drift off, clutching her blankie and snuffling in her sleep.

The red and white cotton shift dress from Noa Lily –

She wore it to the farmer’s market. It brought out the roses in her cheeks and compliments from kind strangers.

The pink flowered dress with cap sleeves and ruffles –

She pushed her baby doll in its stroller and adjusted its blanket to protect her doll from the sun.

The striped mango and pink play dress from Hartstrings –

She wanted to wear it every summer day when she was three.

Summer of 2013 at the movies

Summer of 2013 at the movies

The turquoise butterfly top and matching pants –

She laughed in a baby swing at the playground, ribbons fluttering in her pigtails.

Her tiny pink bunny slippers


She outgrew many of these clothes a long time ago. I should have given them away then, but I couldn’t bear to part with them. I moved them to a spare closet and would sneak looks at them every now and then.

They represented her baby years, the time when I could choose her clothing for her and dress her up like my very own living, breathing American Girl doll.

They represented the time when she exhausted me in the marathon of her 24/7 needs, then rewarded me with baby kisses and chubby arms held up in the air.

“Up, Mommy! Up!”

They represented the time that I was her world.

The Pooh now speaks in full paragraphs, wheels and deals for privileges, and decides what she will wear and when she will wear it. She is developing her own fashion sense. Even if she ends up looking like a deranged bag lady, she sticks out her belly and wears her choices with pride.

"Pretty Like Mommy"

“Pretty Like Mommy”

I still suggest clothing options, but have a 25% chance of success at best. My window of influence is closing fast.

So as I sorted the clothing for the children of my friends a few days ago, I prepared it with good wishes for new memories. I folded the clothes, placing some in bags for hand delivery, and some in a box to be mailed to Washington, D.C.

I carried the bags and box to the car and placed them in the trunk.

As I said goodbye to the clothing, I said goodbye to the Pooh’s babyhood, and hello to her girlhood.

7 responses to “Let It Go

  1. It’s SO hard to part with some things. Addie wears clothes for longer, so when it is time to for closet clean out, I find myself in tears. Good luck, love! Stay strong and get it out of sight before you change your mind!


  2. Jackie says:

    I love this post – she is a doll. I had the toughest time parting with some of my kids’ clothes too! Sometimes, it just takes time. I threw out a lot of things when they were five. Not the good stuff though. There are pieces you hold onto forever! I ended up framing one of my daughter’s favorite floral dresses and hanging it on her wall!


  3. jgroeber says:

    She is such a gorgeous doll! And you have completely hit me where it hurts. I am born of a hoarder, but I attempt to shun the hoarding… sometimes to no avail. After my first was born my mother wanted to give me boxes (plural!) of clothing she’d saved from my childhood. BOXES! I kept a small pile, gave much back to be given away to Salvation Army. And now, many of those dresses have become subjects of my own artwork as I reflect on my own childhood, mom and becoming a mother. Because those dresses mean something. So take photos, keep writing your glorious prose and save a couple in Pooh’s “special box” to be shown to her own children someday. You should be so impressed with yourself for doing this big thing! I am. 😉


  4. My youngest gets (or steals) the clothes from my oldest and then my niece gets them. By the time my niece has outgrown them I’m kind of sick of seeing them because it’s been 4 years. I do have some things that don’t get passed on and they are packed away in the attic, I don’t trust my girls one little bit.


  5. tqote says:

    I so love how tangible your memories feel – your descriptions of the clothes, the moments that she wore them, the emotions are all in my head as if I was there. I can see how hard it is to part with those memories, how they evoke such special feelings, like flipping through a mental photo album. As a total hoarder (thank goodness for a giant basement) I envy your ability to pass the pieces on – I have purged more than half my kids’ clothes but there are some pieces that I just can’t bear to give up. Yet. Thanks for the inspiration!


  6. Joy Adamonis says:

    I think for me, having a boy- things dont have that spark like girls clothes do. First off- I would be broke if I had a girl – all those adorable dresses, matching leggings, barrettes, omg! Landon wears his clothes so rough- even as a child. I kept his coming home outfit, 1st christmas, birthday shirt and baptism…but other than that- everything else goes……I am only having Landon so there is no need to save!


  7. mkelarsen says:

    I loved reading this post 🙂 I have been putting away Rhys’ clothes each couple of months when he grows out of them, and they are all special memories for me as well.


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