The Power of a Onesie

I tackled the dreaded week-long task of packing away the kids’ summer wardrobes and bringing out all the jeans, sweaters, and flannel pjs for the upcoming colder weather seasons. This is always a huge task, and one I am certainly not a fan of. While I’m packing and unpacking, I make bags for the clothes they’ve outgrown so I can pass them along to family and friends with younger ones. But every once in a while I’ll see a particular item that I just can’t seem to part with. I don’t keep much, but things like the very first bib I bought – the one with “I Love Daddy” on it, which is how I told my husband we were expecting our first child – I just have to save. It’s often during this task that I spot these treasures, and usually I’m totally, 100% fine about it. I might think, “awww” and move on, but that’s about it.

Not this year.

I came across The Onesie. It was one all three of our kids wore. It was in the bottom of Noah’s bin, taking up all of an inch of room. But that tiny, itty bitty piece of stained cloth brought out emotions so deep down I could barely catch a breath. There I was, ugly crying in the middle of bins upon bins of clothes.

Suddenly I was transported to a time where these growing kids of ours were this small. And while I love watching them grow up – and believe me, I know what a privilege it is – I found myself mourning the end of that baby era. I pictured their chubby little legs poking out, and the zillion and one times I snapped those three little buttons when I changed what felt like a gazillion diapers daily. And how, in the nursery, only lit with the gentle glow of a night light, I had to figure out where the snaps were while those little legs pumped like crazy.

I pictured them – all three of them – in the highchair, snacking on Cheerios, while I tried getting spoonfuls of applesauce in their mouths, 75% of it on their faces…and that onesie.

Sitting in Noah’s room with tears pouring out of my eyes, I remembered so much happiness. And while, I’m sure if you saw me then, you would have seen a woman who hadn’t showered in days, most likely in her pajamas well after morning, no doubt with some sort of dried up food on them, with toddlers running around her feet, a baby crying in her arms, while she just. wanted. to. use. the. bathroom. ALONE, and counting the minutes until 6pm when I’d shout those two glorious words: “DADDY’S HOME!!!”

No, it wasn’t easy.

But thinking back to those times…I feel joy.

It was the four of us – my 2 year old, my 1 year old, my baby, and me – day in, day out, in our bubble. Our bubble consisted of playdates with friends and lunches together, and sing-a-longs and dance parties. Trips to the library and the store, where we’d come home and if it were tantrum free, it was chalked up as a huge success. Playdough, reading books, and naptimes were the only things on the agenda. It was before we were thrown into the chaos of school, and sports, and schedules. A world where I didn’t have to worry when they boarded a bus. Or accidentally ate peanuts and would need the epi-pen.

It was a world when I had never heard of CVID. Or worried what the future would hold because of it. I’m a different person after 2012, and there’s so much more worry and fear in my heart than there was back then.

Was it crazy with three young kids? Absolutely. Was I stressed? No doubt. Did the sight of my mom pulling up so I could grab a shower or nap or – GASP! – Grocery shop alone! make me want to do cartwheels? Yup. I’m sure I cried and complained a great deal, but that’s not at all what I remember.

I remember this.

and this.

and this.

Which makes me hopeful. Because if I only recall those happy moments, and forget all the sleepless nights, the exhaustion, the tripping on exersaucers and bouncy seats, the potty training, the teething…well, perhaps on those days that I feel like I could’ve been more patient, or played more, or just had no energy for ‘one more story, pleeeease?,’ then maybe my children won’t remember those times either.

Maybe they’ll look back at their childhood and remember the way Mommy always had birthday pancakes ready when they came down the steps on their special day. Or the rainy days when we’d pull out the sofabed and pop popcorn. Or the feeling that they were more loved than anything on this planet. And see that, even though our faces showed exhaustion, we’d never refuse ‘one more hug and kiss, please?’

I hope they’ll grow up and recall happiness when they look back on these years, the way that onesie does for me.

I realized something else that day, on Noah’s floor, surrounded by piles of clothes. There’s never a better time to appreciate how blessed you are than right now. The days are long, but the years, oh goodness, the years are short. And one day I’ll look back at the clothes they’re wearing today, thinking where did the years go?

Maybe tonight I’ll find the energy to read one more story…

Amazing how a stained, ratty, tiny piece of white cloth can hold such power.


Leave a Reply