When we save things our babies have outgrown to later pass on to our kids for their babies, it means more than just the things themselves. They symbolize the dreams we have for our children, our wish to be part of their lives, and our desire to support them. Here are two poems about things I saved to pass on and what happened to those plans.
As expectant parents in 1984 we wanted everything to be perfect for our baby. This first poem is in my new eBook, Letting Go and New Beginnings: A Mother’s Poetic Journey.
Passing Love Along
I painted this chest of drawers
when I was big with my firstborn.
I chose the handles of yellow, red, green, and blue.
I drilled new holes, putting wood dowels and wood putty
into the old holes, lovingly sanding smooth.
I added a white, coated-wire shelf
and screwed it onto the side to hold
the powder, cream, and baby wipes.
I sewed a green cover for the pad to act as changing table.
And after he was born this is where we changed him.
This dresser moved with us to the new house
and has been in his closet as he grew. Twenty-two
years he is now and gone to an apartment in the city,
no place here or there for this white chest.
We are ready to let it go with a blessing
to a hopeful family crossing the ocean,
welcoming them to the beginning here of their new life.
Margaret Dubay Mikus
The second poem was prompted by the news: a law passed that cribs with side rails that went down were unsafe and could no longer be sold. Since cribs are used for such a short time, most cribs are bought second hand or passed down. When I was pregnant with my son, we picked out a really good crib with matching dresser that would be used for both our babies and handed down the generations. After saving it in the basement for 23 years, this week that crib went out with the trash. What else could we do with it, in good conscience, but let it go?
(as best we can)
The crib that we choose with deliberate care
has now been determined and declared
unsafe for all babies—or some—
even though the slats were closer,
even though we entrusted our two new ones
to its nighttime enclosure with the bumper pads
of bright cars or pink buds with lace, matching comforters.
Now it cannot in good conscience be saved
for grandchildren yet unconceived.
It could be kept as a souvenir
of lost sweet baby days, but what would be the point?
Let it go forevermore
bless what use we had of it
what love surrounded those precious lives
just then at their beginning…
Margaret Dubay Mikus
What have you let go this week? And why?