I bought this set of milestone cards when I was pregnant with Baby Orchid. It was an impulse purchase during a summer supermarket run. I thought it would be fun to document the first year of Baby’s life and know exactly what age he was in pictures. We dutifully opened the box every week, and then every month, snapped some pictures and then put the cars and blanket away. Earlier this month I made a couple of photobooks and the best pictures went into one of them, a whole book of him to savour and keep.
Yesterday, I passed this onto another pregnant woman. I offered it on a freecycle Facebook group and it was snapped up almost immediately. I tucked it into an overfull bag before my commute and handed it over at lunchtime. We exchanged good wishes and went our separate ways, she to the beginning of the end of pregnancy and I to the end of the beginning of our final steps into parenting.
It feels good to pass things on, knowing that we won’t use them or need them ever again We’re slowly filtering out what’s been outgrown or what we’ve kept ‘just in case’ and now know ‘in case’ never came. We have very little baby stuff left. I have a box of sentimental clothes and cards and a few other small things.
We still have the cot all three of our children have slept in, and I’m torn on what to do once that’s no longer needed. I have a love/hate relationship with our SUV of a buggy, but I’ll probably miss it when its gone. I know soon enough I’ll be passing on our slings to someone with babies who needs it and that we’ll be taking out the next size of clothes from the attic and giving away the smaller ones rather than packing them away for a possible baby of our own.
I don’t miss vast swathes of the intense early days with a small baby. I can’t forget the shattering tiredness and the resentful feeling that can wash over you when you’re a baby’s sole source of food. I miss parts of it more than I expected, and what I miss has surprised me a bit. I smile at new babies and bigger babies, and I have a small pang that this stage of life has gone forever for us. But the next bit is good, and the bit after that, and it will be nice to let go of the stuff we don’t need any more and send it off to those who do.