I spent a chunk of this morning doing the requisite seasonal weeding through Esmé’s clothes. Admittedly this can be a really difficult task for me. Today was no exception.
I unpacked all of her summer stuff from last year, most of which still fits because she grows so slowly. I packed away most of the winter stuff knowing that it will likely fit again next year. There is something simultaneously soothing and sad about this. I also went through the piles of clothes that are still WAY too big for Ezzy…hand-me-downs that were given with the words “I know these look big now, but she will grow into them in no time!”…to see if she had grown into any of them yet.
However, she had grown out of a few things. I saved a handful of special items for memories and packed up the rest for my niece. Many of the things Ezzy has out grown were items she never wore. They always are: The coats that are so thick she wouldn’t be able to move in them; Ditto pants–if we put her in anything thicker than jeggings she just can’t move; The items that are practical for most kids, but just seem crazy for Esmé: raincoats, anything with buttons, essentially any and all dresses.
The dresses are the hardest of all, honestly. There is just something about a dress for a little girl. I’m not that girly, but when I heard I was having a daughter, I thought about dresses…sundresses, itchy poofy easter dresses, jumpers. I used to love essentially all little girl dresses (although I am fairly certain I have never bought one for Esmé). People can’t help but give them because they are so damn cute. I have an closet filled with dresses, dresses, dresses…tags still hanging on them.
You see, there is no item of clothing that is less practical for Esmé than a dress. She cannot roll in a dress. It interferes with crawling, sitting, and any other non-walking form of movement. A dress bunches up in the harness of her walker, the seat of her wheelchair behind her pummel. They are often itchy thick material, or thin fragile material that is perfect for catching a bendy toe or finger, or covered in little notions that are “perfect” for her to put in her mouth. Anything but the plainest thin cotton tunic isn’t even worth considering.
And, most importantly to me, the idea of lifting her dress up to access her tube just seems unnecessarily humiliating for her.
Don’t get me wrong. On a daily basis I could care less if Ez wears a dress. I don’t look longingly at them in stores or anything weird like that. I don’t wear many dresses myself and sort of doubt any daughter of mine would have worn many dresses anyway. But they are such a symbol…so quintessentially girl and the bulk of them hanging there, unused…I feel like they are taunting me…begging questions about Esmé’s future. Will she ever feel comfortable in a dress? Will she ever be a flower girl? Wear one to a prom?
Spend hours trying them on finding the right white one for her wedding?
So today I took most of them down. I tucked away the ones she might still grow into, packed up the others for my niece.
I let myself shed a few tears, and then I took a deep breath and went back to being here, now, with Ez exactly as she is…feeling a wee bit less afraid of her closet.