Saturday, November 3, 2012

Letting go

These are no ordinary piles of clothes. This scene from a garage sale I had a few weeks ago represented a big decision.

When my husband and I talked about what our family would look like years ago, we envisioned three children. After Jaycee was born, I started questioning if I could handle the responsibilities of three children. Sometime last year (probably during 1 of Jaycee's 6 trips to the hospital) I concluded that two children seemed just fine. My husband hoped I would change my mind, but supported my reasons for the decision.

I gave my husband a list of reasons why a third child didn't seem reasonable: I haven't had happy, easy pregnancies, Jaycee's health issues & a previous miscarriage have left me a little reluctant to try again, the financial costs of Jaycee's medicine and medical bills never seem to go away, our house is cramped already, etc. But the major reason was that I didn't feel like I could handle balancing working part-time, the home responsibilities, and caring for three kids. I love my kids but some days are stressful. When Jaycee doesn't listen, runs off from me in a parking lot, and can't communicate what's wrong, I know I'm at my limit. Everyone has their limitations. I am very aware of mine and aren't afraid to admit them.

My husband brought up concerns for Elijah. Having another child might take pressure off of Elijah later on if he'd ever need to care for his sister as an adult. Having another child would give Elijah a sibling he could better identify with/find support with. I reminded my husband that there was no guarantee that this future child #3 would be perfect and healthy. The discussion went on many times. On something like this, both people need to agree to have another child and be willing to accept their partner if there's a difference of opinion. My husband is great. He let go. Well, we both did. Because, it was my dream to have a third child too. Even though I was the one who didn't think it was a good idea, it was still hard for me to come to the realization that we were done having kids.

Months after my decision, the tote labeled "maternity clothes" stared at me every time I went to the basement. As the kids outgrew clothes, I still packed them away as if I was going to use them again. As I tripped on the the jump-a-roo and baby swing, I wondered why I still had these. Baby blankets took up valuable drawer space. Baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups.... It had to go. Holding on to this stuff didn't help me move forward.

My first step was to take my maternity clothes to my sister-in-law who was pregnant with baby #7. (She obviously has a higher threshold for noise and stress!) I dropped the clothes off and announced I never needed them again. I didn't care if she used them or not. I needed to get rid of them. I also needed to say it out loud to someone else.

Several months later, I decided to sell all my baby stuff at a garage sale. The clothes, the blankets, everything. Well, I kept a box for each kid to save blankets made by family members or a toy they really loved as a baby. Whatever was left from the sale was donated to needy families.

It felt good to let go. Our house isn't as cramped now either with all that stuff gone too!

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