On this last weekend of summer I thought it would be most appropriate to share this photo I took of Eli last month. There's nothing significant about the time or place of the photo. I was just playing around with my camera. At least I didn't think there was anything overly significant about the photo. It's a funny thing, though, how even a few weeks can make you pause and re-examine an otherwise uneventful photo.
You see, it's the romper. I love a sleeveless romper for toddler boys in the summer. I found this particular one last summer at the beach, and knew it belonged on my boy. We had a few others, but this one was my favorite. It was cool on a hot day, comfortable for a busy boy, and the fish were just too darn cute. I was quite pleased with myself, too, as the size and the timing were perfect. He wore it all summer, but I could tell he'd be able to wear it again next summer.
I'm well known around these parts for dressing my boy, how should I say, differently? I suppose it's a combination of my time in the south and the European influence of my mother. You only have so many years to dress your children as you like. With boys that window of time is even smaller. I love all things smocked and embroidered, but even I realize that on a 4-year-old? Not so precious. So I cherished these little boy clothes, knowing my days were numbered. One more summer, then I would retire the rompers for good.
And then last week my little boy surprised me. He asked to sit on the potty and then he proceeded to pee in it. I high-fived him and gave him an M&M and he realized what a win-win situation this whole potty thing was. While he's no where near being potty-trained, all signs point to an end of diapers in the near future. As in before next summer.
Unless you're a glutton for punishment, underwear means an end to outfits that must be unsnapped from the bottom. It means an end to the rompers.
How did I get so attached to an item of clothing? They're still hanging in his closet, even though it hasn't been anywhere near warm enough to wear them. And yet as I hang up his clean shirts I find myself pausing just to look at them. I pull them off the closet rod and run my hand down their small fronts. I didn't cry over the disassembled crib, but I tear up over these rompers. In a way I'm glad. I was beginning to fear that I was too cynical about my children growing up, that I wasn't truly appreciating them for the age and stage they were in. I wanted to be wistful, but I was too preoccupied with thoughts of a laundry room without diapers or entire days to myself. I will miss these days, as tedious and messy as they can be.
I know that the crux of mothering is to raise your children so that one day they will leave you for a life of their own. I'm quite alright with that. But these rompers? I'm not so sure I can let them go. I think I will have to save them. Maybe one day I can convince my daughter, or perhaps my daughter-in-law, to put them on their son. After all, a little boy in an embroidered romper is a precious, fleeting thing.