Spring. The crocuses start peeping out of the ground. Bird feeders get filled to the tippy tippy top. I inevitably put the winter coats and hats away just a smidge too soon. I start to plan the kids summer clothes. At some point, I take a brief looksy in the "keep" boxes I put away in the fall hoping beyond hope that some of it will still fit on their long bodies. Caroline is good about trying everything on because she knows if she doesn't it will get boxed away to be handed down to someone else or as is the case for most things this year, sold at the sale in town. It's a milestone of some kind I suppose. We have a nephew to hand most of Connor's things down to, but with a six year age gap, most of Caroline's things don't find their way to our niece.

I have attended this sale most years since Caroline was born. I raced there in the morning, cash in hand, to stake out a front of the line spot. I have scoured the equipment area for a wagon or bike. I have leapt over people to get to the winter coats. I have assisted Auntie Colleen in securing a sweet push wagon. I have hauled things to my car as only a mother who just got the deal of the century could find the strength to do.

I am on the selling end of things for the first time this year. I hung, tagged, and organized fifty pieces of clothing. I went on a search and destroy mission in the attic to uncover relics of babydom long past. I used all my strength to navigate them down the attic steps. I tested batteries, wiped clean, took apart, washed what really needed to be washed. I chiseled all the spaghetti dinner remains out of the high chair that is really in phenomenal shape if I do say so myself. I worked furiously until this was complete and then as I washed the spaghetti remains from my hands and began to set in motion plans to somehow transport it all down to the garage, I caught sight of it all just sitting there piled up in the living room again and wept.

I wept big rolling tears, the silent kind that just flow out of your eyes with no end in sight.

I didn't cry when we got rid of the crib. I didn't cry when we passed along crawl to walk toys, pianos, or blocks. In fact, it was probably the passing that got me through that unscathed because someone else I love was playing with our favorite treasures. They had a second or in many cases third life. I wasn't really expecting this kind of reaction, not so suddenly anyway and certainly not after washing three year old spaghetti dinner off my hands. My babies are not babies, I know this is true, but watching these things go just seems to mean so much more. I stood there at my sink, wiping my eyes with a dishtowel, and I could just see them bouncing in the bouncer, Caroline's wide Joker smile in the exersaucer on Monday and Friday mornings, her favorite ducky toy from the activity mat,

I don't need videos or photos to remember these long ago moments.



I suppose I am reluctantly happy to see these things go to new homes where they will much get better use that sitting in an attic. The small amount of profit we make will help get the kids some new summer clothes or maybe finance a few trips to the local ice cream stop for some delish Creamsicle. I thought I was doing this to make a little cash off things taking up space in the attic, but it seems I am doing it instead to say goodbye to that time in our family's life. I'm okay letting them go (except for the little duck on the mat, he stays with me forever) I've had my tears. I have the memories all saved right up there in my head. You can find them there filed under "priceless."


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