Clothes from Gran

There is a tiny room in my house that used to be a study. I asked our landlords to remove the desk and some of the shelves before we moved in.

Now it is overrun by little cute things in drawers, on shelves, walls and floor. There’s even a cot there though that’s not where the creature will sleep for some months.

I don’t even have a whole cupboard to myself but this thing hanging off my middle has an entire room as her wardrobe and she’s not even born yet. What a diva.

All this after me saying that I didn’t care if her clothes prompted people to ask my son’s name for the first few months.

She’s still going to be wearing her cousin Leo’s clothes, to be sure. But now she also has dresses.

Some we bought in nearly new sales because they were only 20p and irresistible but the bulk of the collection is 25 years old.

My mother has brought my baby dresses from Trinidad.

Every now and then I sneak into the room just to look at them hung on a string and to open all the drawers to get my cute fix.

Then I touch one of the creature’s feet, which she predictably withdraws, and ask her to stop giving me itty bitty pains that haven’t led anywhere for the last three days and counting, and start pushing her way out properly.

Diva-like, she’s insisting on her own timing.

As we unpacked and hung the dresses, my mother gave each one a little stroke, each one obviously a memory. She kept going back to a little pink number that was her favourite.

And I saw in her the 25-year-old who 25 years ago had her first baby, who looked forward to dressing her up, whose baby often preferred to callously strip it all off.

If there is any justice, the creature will follow that family tradition, spiting my newfound excitement about having a live dolly. In fact, I used to dress up Molly, a doll my grandmother gave me, in the purple number. It’ll be particularly hilarious sticking the creature in that.

My mother-in-law has also donated some of Laurence’s clothes to the cause, lovingly sorting through a trunk of cute things her sons had worn. I imagine her also being transported back 30 years, when a tiny person changed things.

It’s taken becoming a parent to make me really see our parents; to see that they once were figuring this baby thing out; that they’re still working out how to parent us now.

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  • I came across your blog through a tweet by someone….reading this post has made me go a bit teary eyed for some reason…beautifully written x

  • I can’t believe that your mom saved them after all these years..precious 🙂 Can’t wait to see what your little one looks like in them

  • ‘it’s taken becoming a parent to really see our parents’ – that really resonates, for sure. It jsut gives such a different perspective, seeing our parents not as figures whose life and experience have ever been in the distance, but people who are just like us! A couple of weeks ago Luke said, “I remember your 30th birthday, Mum – and it’s really strange,cos now it’s not long till I’m 30 myself!” [he’ll be 28 this year]

    ‘Ahh,’ I thought, ‘finally!’ My sons are starting to realise that we are not parents far removed, forever older and distant, but in a sense, we ARE them – just older versions of themselves – and THIS is quite a confronting experience, I think.

    Like on my 40th birthday I thought about my mum’s 40th, and how my sisters and brother and I went crazy, trying to fit 40 candles on the cake – yet suddenly, on my 40th, I realised – wow, Mum wasn’t old! She was my age – she had young children, a busy life, problems to face – and suddenly, Mum and i were connected.

    I see the glimpse of those boys really ‘seeing’ us more and more as life goes by (though sadly none of them will relate to my pregnancy experiences!! 🙂

    “How old were you went you got married?” asked David, my 22 year old recently.

    “I was 21 and Dad was 22,” I say smugly, knowing one of those parental-recognition moments was on hand.

    That perspective, and the renewed respect and closeness that comes with it, is one of the things I enjoy most about getting old.

    • I remember my mum turning 32 and not being able to get my head around that age (I was 7). Laurence turned 30 this year, which brings it much closer. It likely makes your boys appreciate the decisions you’ve made at ages which aren’t as “ancient” as they might have previously thought! Your perspective on getting older is very interesting.

  • Aww that is so lovely. I don’t even think my mum still has any of my baby clothes. I think it’s a lovely memory and something really special. There is a dress that my nan knitted for me and I would love for Amy to wear it but I guess she’ll have to knit her a new one…

    • I was amazed at how much my mum had kept. She mentioned it and I thought she meant a dress or two, not a whole wardrobe! She’s also kept the nail scissors, brush and comb which are in perfect nick so the creature will be using them too. Mental. I’m sure your nan would love to knit something for Amy anyway!

  • I still have a shirt that I wore as a 4 year old, which my dad wore himself when he was 4. I love it and now have it folded in a drawer for Frog to wear too. I love the way that clothes can bring back memories. I remember feeling so sad when Frog outgrew a gorgeous little Boden dress (the only brand new clothes item I’d bought her) because I wouldn’t see her in it again. I know how my mum felt when I didn’t fit into those pink dungarees any longer. x

    • Wow, that shirt will have spanned three generations in your family. Now that’s impressive. You’ll have to hold on to that little Boden dress, I reckon. My mum’s torn because she wants to keep her favourite dress but also really wants to see her granddaughter in it. They’re just clothes, aren’t they, but it’s incredible how symbolic they are too. 

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