I now understand why my friend Betsy cried.
She helped me fold my newborn son’s clothes and tears of missing rolled down her kind face.
Together we marveled at tiny infant onesies, little blue shirts reading “Mama’s Big Guy”, and soft, precious fibers clothing the body of innocence. Betsy’s children are now out of college. It had been many years since she folded the attire of a little one. There’s a powerful mother’s remembering of, and a certain sweet longing for, those early days. I understand that now.
Today, I pack up the 12-month-old clothes. Before I fold the brown, cardboard box flaps down, I pause and look inside at an array of holy memories. Breathing deeply, I run the packing tape over the seams. The box is labeled and stowed away. The memories I carry close.
My 20-month-old son grows taller each month. I look at the photos from the earliest days and remember to breathe in bravely despite time’s relentless dance. Even if one summoned all of the human power available on this planet, one cannot stop the dance of time. We are all living in a beautiful though ceaseless pace of one moment merging into the next.
If I could make it all freeze and walk outside of time, could I see into the miracle of all that surrounds me? If I could hit “pause” and really soak in the wonders of what it is like to watch my son and husband play together in the front room while I finish up dinner, how would that transform my heart?
I never felt closer to spirit than during those early post-partum weeks. I lived in a day-to-day meditation focusing on the most splendid love I’d ever known. The clothes Betsy and I folded have been resting in boxes for over a year. They are packed away and I’m left with a daunting challenge--- one that extends far beyond that of mothering an active toddler.
How can I remember that all humans everywhere were once so small, fragile, precious, and capable of fitting into tiny outfits of wonder? How can I let this truth sink in deeply and not remain only an intellectual proposition but a vibrant epiphany?
If I can remember this truth, it would transform how I interact with this world.
Perhaps this is why Betsy cried.