The other day my mother in law asked me if I had any spare baby boy clothes in sized 9-12 months. A friend of her’s was doing a collection for a homeless family. I promised her that I would put together a bag and get it to her in a couple of days.
I saw it as another task and added it to the forever growing to-do list that generally consumes me. Today was the day. I spent my Mother’s Day lie in tidying the upstairs of the house as I often do. It weirdly excites me. I don’t get the opportunity during the week when little man needs to be entertained. I enjoy having the couple of hours to work my way through all of the clean clothes, clean the bathroom and give all the bedrooms a good hoover. I feel so happy when it’s all done. Call me weird.
As part of those chores today I planned to rummage through bags of Billy’s old clothes and fish out as many items as possible to donate to the collection. It was nearing Billy’s nap time and I knew my time was limited for pulling down bags and making noise. He would be asleep soon so I had to work fast.
As I sifted through his old babygroes I couldn’t believe that he was ever that small. It was only a year ago that he was filling these teeny tiny clothes. I found a pair of 6-12 month socks and they literally made me weak. My little man has grown so much since then. Grown to be such an independent and bright little person. I felt that familiar pang of bittersweet as I longed to have him as a tiny newborn once again and then in the next breath felt incredibly proud that he has turned out to be such a healthy happy toddler.
I found it hard to part with his clothes. Every single item reminded me of some fond memory. I imagined having another son some time in the future and him wearing his big brother’s clothes. Beautiful items, some presents and some hand-me-downs. All of them reminding me fondly of times when our little man was learning to crawl, walk and have his voice heard. It completely transported me.
And then it hit me.
A collection for a homeless family. A collection for a homeless family where a 9 month old needs clothes.
A homeless family. No home.
It felt like someone had punched me in the chest. I looked at the tracksuit bottoms and sleep suits and imagined them on a child who does not have a home. I imagined them keeping him warm at night. I imagined the joy on the mother’s face as she too rummaged through the bag of goodies. I too had that feeling when I was very kindly given bags of hand-me-downs from friends and family.
But the difference is that I had a home. A place to call my own. A warm and safe place to bathe, feed, cuddle and adore my little person.
I sat there surrounded by baby clothes. Suddenly I went from tears of nostalgia to tears of sheer sadness.
Somewhere out there is a baby who is nine months old. In a couple of days he will be wearing my baby’s clothes. It feels good to help in some way, but desperately sad to imagine how unfair this world can be. Every baby is born in to the world a blank canvas. They do not choose their destiny. They simply become the world that they have been exposed to.
Today, on Mothers Day, I find myself thinking about the fact that as mothers we are all connected and united. Whether she lives in a slum or a mansion, whether she is happy or sad, a Mother’s instinct is to protect and love her baby.
Happy Mothers Day from me and the little man who light up my life.