I am having a clear-out or clear-up.
I have always been a perpetually messy sort and I am slightly ashamed to let people into my house.
I find sort-outs quite therapeutic too and a little trip down memory lane, finding parts of you that you might have forgotten about. I have a (very large) memory box where treasured birthday cards, postcards, rambling letters and funny post-it notes from friends go. I also have the only physical token of my albeit brief courtship with Wriggles' father, when on our first date after a few glasses of wine we decided to compare handwriting on a scrap of paper. Funny the things you keep. When after a while he disappeared into the ether, or at least, stopping calling me, I meant to throw it out. Now I'm quite glad, not because I have particularly sentimental feelings about or for him, but that there is some evidence that we at least met in a not-just-procreating sense.
Amongst my mountains of things, I also have like every parent, A LOT of baby items. It always amazes me how one small person can take up so much room and acquire so many things in such a short space of time. But acquire they do! And grow, relatively quickly. I now have amongst other things a baby-seat, a moses basket and rocker, a large pram, a sling, a slightly faulty pushchair and a baby bath as well as probably hundreds of clothes, ranging from premature sizes up until 6-12 months. Some is millionth hand already, but most of it is in pretty good condition. And it is taking up room. I have already sorted out some things which have gone into a memory box for Wriggles, and kept first tiny gloves and favourite jumpers, but I am still left with a multitude of things and no one small enough to use them. Recently I began working with Tiny Lives and their Nearly New sales that raise money to support the neonatal unit where Wriggles spent the first two months of her life. In the past I have donated and sold items that I had no use for, and now I am wondering whether it is time to clear out other bits and bobs that I simply have no use for anymore. Many things have had a lot of wear as Wriggles was and is, still a titch, so over the 17 months or 15 that she has been at home with me, she still uses many things more suitable for a 9 month old.
The thing is, I am reluctant to part with some of these reminders of what it is like to have a tiny baby. I keep trying to justify keeping them, in that Wriggles can use them for dolls when she is older or a friend might need them but the reality is that many of my friends that do not have babies are not local anymore and that Wriggles has a way to go before the stage of playing putting Christmas Hedgehog to bed! The reality is that although I cannot rule out having another baby ever, it will certainly not be happening in the short to medium term future, to need these things for myself. This does make me a little sad, as some of the mummies I know are beginning to think about having a sibling, and I can get broody until I am blue in the face, but it won't help me much. I am very comfortable being a singleton, but it does sometimes make me a little sad when I see life going on in their twos and families around me.
I have many fond memories of these things; the bouncy chair where Wriggles first learnt to eat (before swiftly giving all grub up), the pram that I took her for her first outdoor trip to the park in, that supported oxygen tanks for months, the clothes that she wore when she reached different milestones and met different people. I know they are just things, but they act as memories for me to. Whilst I spent much of the first year battling against depression and some symptoms attributed to Post Traumatic Stress, it feels as though I have "lost" many memories, especially those of the everyday. I think it is true for many parents that the early days fly by to an extent, but I feel it very keenly. They evoke mundane times that I now hold dear, as my once-newborn has started crawling, gigglings and rampaging around my flat like a whirlwind of terror.
Maybe it is less about the things after all, but a sense of life moving on, and trying not to be too afraid to move with it.