I’ve been putting it off for a few days.
Collecting clothes that my youngest living son has outgrown, to pass along to my cousin, for her son.
I knew it was coming, but I waited and delayed anyway.
Today was the day.
I went to his closet, pulled out his clothes, and scanned each item.
Some were Christmas gifts.
Some were birthday gifts.
Some were just really special.
I pulled out these clothes, enjoying these memories. Noting the great condition they were in, ready to be worn by another little boy.
And I read the tags: 12 months.
My fourth child would be twelve months, soon. I would be pulling these clothes out, for him.
I would be pulling these clothes out, for him, and not thinking anything of it. They would just be clothes. They wouldn’t mean so much.
I’d grab a shirt to pull over a wriggly, giggly little boy.
But I’m not.
I’m taking them off hangers.
Taking them out of drawers.
I’m holding them, breathing them in.
Crying into them.
Then, laughing right out loud over how silly I must seem.
Folding them, and placing them into the black trash bag, to give away.
Stillbirthday is a year, because my baby should be a year.
I didn’t just have a miscarriage.
My baby died.
My child is not here.
I pray over this bag of clothes, that the boy who wears them will feel extra love. That innocence fills his days as he fills the items. That the Lord protect him. That my child would stop his lovely day for just a second, peek down onto earth, see his cousin wearing his shirt, and think, “Boy, that’s so cool.”
It brings me a joy from an unforeseen place. Somehow, my relationship with my child can deepen, and as I wish so brokenheartedly to rewind time and have him back, I can even find thankfulness in the pain.
Today, I realize, I am the one growing up.