The weekend before Madeline got sick, I got crazy motivated and decided I was going to get organized. While Mike played with Maddie before we went to a birthday party, I pulled out all the clothes that were in the closet she and I shared. Maddie had just had a big growth spurt, and suddenly things weren’t fitting her anymore. So I made piles of the clothes to pack away, piles of the clothes that still fit, and piles of laundry. I also made piles of my own clothes. Everything was in neat stacks on the floor in her room, next to a brand new pack of diapers in a bigger size.

When we got home from the hospital on April 7th, I walked into her room and remembered the organizing I’d been doing only days before. I realized people would be coming to my house, and I took the stacks of clothes and threw them into our shared closet. And there, for the next five months, my clothes and hers lay intermingled on the floor.

Yesterday, my mom and I finally went into the closet. We pulled out my shirts and dresses, her onesies and pants. I came across some of her laundry, and it still smelled like her. I remembered the pears she’d joyfully smeared on one of her shirts. She loved pears.

My mom carefully built new piles of clothes, hers and mine. We hung up dresses and shirts, hers and mine. Our clothes are sorted, but nothing else is.

If Binky is in fact a girl, will we use Maddie’s clothes? The answer is no, and maybe. There are some outfits that are so “Iconic Maddie” that I can’t imagine anyone else wearing them. When I’m ready, I’ll put them somewhere special. The other clothes will be taken on a case by case, moment by moment basis.

If Binky is a boy, I know everything has to be packed up. And that will be even harder. To have to pack up my daughter’s things to make room for a new baby feels like such a betrayal, even though my brain tells me it isn’t. Maddie and her sibling would have been sharing a room, but since Maddie isn’t here, it doesn’t seem right to have her stuff taking up tons of space in a room that soon won’t be hers.

Mike and I struggle with what to do with Maddie’s things once the new baby is here. We want to do what’s right for the baby, but we have to do what’s right for us, too. Until then, Madeline’s things will be in neat stacks, waiting.