Spencer wants to turn our attic into the most awesome bachelor pad in the city. A third story loft with a killer sound system, guitar amps everywhere, and a pimped out drum set. He and his cousin Tyler started to empty their dream space last summer. Totes and boxes began their parade from forgotten corners of the attic. The boys began to rebuild the former stacks from the attic in our low ceilinged basement, proving that people were much shorter one hundred years ago. They marched past me apologetically and asked for guidance on where the decades of accumulation should go. Several weeks ago I realized my laundry area had become sequestered in a claustrophobic corner surrounded by important objects which were no longer relevant. I am a master of procrastination and apparently a hoarder.
Tyler brought the last bag of baby clothes to me. I was in the kitchen doing something mundane and surrounded by the things that the basement refused to contain. He looked at me apologetically and told me everything was gone from the third floor. It was time to purge.
I spent hours organizing objects into bags worthy of consignment, or destined for a landfill, and the ones which could be donated. The minivan was filled and the garbage collectors swore when they stopped at our house. I began to feel less likely to be featured on a TLC reality show.
Seventeen years of motherhood resulted in a tiny pile of objects I couldn’t part with. There were several newborn sleepers I remembered buying when I was pregnant with Connor. All four of my babies wore them for a few weeks and they held memories of skinny baby bottoms which fit into the palm of my hand. Maya’s pink fleece hat with fluffy feather trim made the cut. I could see her perfect softball sized head wearing it while tucked into her car seat during her frigidly cold first winter.
The baby slings were to be kept without question. I rescued them from the piles of refuse and held them with reverence. Connor always rode on my hip, leaning slightly away, wanting to be put down. Spencer used to cuddle with his dark golden curls against my shoulder, clutching my torso like a little monkey. He stared solemnly at everything in the world outside our cocoon, reserving his most reverent smiles for me. Xander hid inside the slings limply, allowing the fabric to hide him from the world. He would sigh with relief when we arrived home after a public outing. Maya rode along with unusually perfect posture, smiling at me and anyone charmed in her path. She held on, rocking to the beat of any music floating past her tiny ears. She loved the slings because they gave her an excellent vantage point to a world she found fascinating and was apparently fascinated with her.
The babies once enveloped in those slings are in various stages of being grown. The personalities once contained in the tiny bodies I held in those pieces of fabric have remained the same. Half are autistic. Half are typical. All of them are unique and loved.