Little Plaid Dress

I so often try to stay in the present. But a walk down memory lane has brought me back to the past and thinking about the future.

As I go through my children’s baby clothes to give away, I examine each piece to determine if it is deemed worthy of keeping for the memory, or passing along, for others to make their own memories with their newborns.

As I sift through bins upon bins of clothes, merely articles of clothing, the value that lay within these tiny baby items hold so much weight, so many thoughts.

I pull out Hailey’s plaid dress, laced edges, and matching bloomers that I remember dressing her in, in the early throes of her newborn stage, which was for me, an extremely critical period of time.

In an instant, as I thumb the material, grace the edges of the lace with my fingertips, and smell the remnants of baby detergent, I am transported back to the day,when two month old Hailey, wore it.

As she lay there, all dressed up and nowhere to go in her little plaid dress, my thought was not how adorable the dress was or how in  awe of the newborn stage I was, but what was her diagnosis? What were the doctors missing? Why am I so isolated? Where are the people agreeing with me that something is wrong?

And my gut immediately was struck with wretched, awful, guilty feelings. Because. I remember. I remember that time so well and the guttural fear that existed within my entire being. There I was, in the past, scrolling through my social media, seeing babies, mothers reveling in their babies. Their first coo, their first smile, their strong babies already rolling over.

And there I was, praying and wishing she would look deep into my eyes and coo, to show me that I was wrong. That day was a day, when my gut informed me that I had been right all along. I knew that Hailey’s journey was drastically different. Nothing confirmed it, besides my own internal feelings.

In hindsight, I wish I I savored every moment, rather than spending every waking second on Google, self-diagnosing,  worrying about missed milestones, and comparing my child to every baby that existed on my social media algorithm.

I snapped back to the present moment, but then was brought into the future.

I want to keep this dress. For Hailey. For her daughter. I want to know that one day, she will go on to have children of her own. I want her to know and feel the love that I have for my two babies. For Hailey. For Noah.

And while so many unknowns exist, so many amazing possibilities lay before her, I bring myself to the present.

I make a pile of the things that I remember brought so many happy tears to my eyes. The outfit Hailey wore in her therapy session when she lifted her head.

While I want to hold on to it, I want another little girl to wear it, proudly, knowing that a strong, resilient little girl wore it and pushed through the hardest of times.

Her first set of overalls that she wore, the first time she smiled. I decided to also give that away, and hope that an expecting mom, will experience many beautiful firsts with their little girl.

The headband she wore when she rolled over. The shoes she wore when she got her walker.

The shorts set I bought for her to wear to her first party.

I gave them away, because her past, her present, and her future, tell a beautiful story that is hers, and hers alone.

And while I do not know what her future holds, I do know, that it is bright. It is full of hope.

But I did decide, to hold on to that plaid dress, with the lace around the edges. Even though it does not remind me of an achieved milestone, an extremely important day in her life that transformed anything at all, it serves as a reminder that even on the darkest days, when we are unsure of what the future holds, that the present moments should be savored and that we are strong, stronger that we will ever know.

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