Now that I am past the 34 week mark in this pregnancy, I have started to let myself prepare for the arrival of a new baby. I just haven’t been able to let myself start getting things truly ready until now, be it superstition or whatever. Of course, there isn’t much you can really DO before this point – I can dust the nursery every week, but it will have to be dusted again before the hospital. I want the sheets in the bassinet to be fresh, so I’m holding off on those. But the clothes…it’s time to start washing the clothes.

On Tuesday, my mom and I went through Madeline’s drawers. I’d already gone through half of her clothes before, but I had yet to tackle her dresser. We sorted things according to size and type. As I looked at each item of clothing, different memories poured back to me. I could think of occasions for every item of clothing. She was so much fun to dress. Most of the memories were happy and made me laugh. It was harder to come across the clothes I’d bought that she never wore. They reminded me of the hopes and plans I’d had for her.

I went through and pulled out things that I wanted to keep as just Maddie’s. Some things wouldn’t fit Binky even if she were born today, so those were obvious ones to pull.

The first shirt she ever wore, pink camouflage for a little fighter…

Daddy's girl
…the Daddy’s Girl preemie outfit we surprised Mike with on his birthday…

Holiday Maddie
…her First Christmas onesie.

Other outfits are too closely identified with her in my mind:

her hair grows so fast
the hat she wore when we played dress up…

Kiss Me, I'm Irish
…her entire St. Patrick’s Day outfit (I used a ribbon as a belt because she was so tall and skinny)…

watching Dancing With The Stars or something equally fluffy, like PBS
…her blue ballerina pajamas that were perfect for my tippy toed girl.

I didn’t put everything away that I deemed “Maddie.” Some things I hung in the closet with the hopes seeing Binky in them will make me smile. There are some pink sparkly overalls, pretty coats, and guitar shirts waiting for Binky to be the right size.

Before we went to sleep, Mike and I went through the outfits I’d put aside. We shared memories each outfit brought up, and we cried. I showed him some of the things I’d bought for her in the days before she got sick. We decided to save them for Binky. When she wears them, I will allow myself a moment to think about what Maddie would have done in that outfit, and then Binky and I will go off and create a memory.

Madeline has been gone nine months. It isn’t any easier.