The Season of Outgrowth


It’s that time of year where we do our back-to-school clothes shopping. Even if we do not go back to a physical building this year, it was still time to take everyone up a size. As the saying goes “out with the old, in with the new.”

When we got home from shopping, my husband and I both agreed it was time to pack up clothes that both girls had officially outgrown, pack up newborn items, and pass down what my oldest son outgrew to our youngest son for one last go around. Of course, my son is rough on his clothes, so some items would also be purged. This seems like such a fairly simple task, but why was it so hard?

As I was sorting through each item, the memories from my kids’ clothes just came flooding in.


The “Owl always love you” 18-month t-shirt that once adorned my now soon-to-be 7-year-old and then passed to our 3-year-old. The many family coordinating outfits that are evidence of how much each individual has grown, and brought smiles as I can remember the many family picture moments and attempts. Clothes stained in mud and miscellaneous food and beverages. All representative of moments and adventures for our family.

The baby girl dresses that once spared me from heartache as I told myself we may someday have another girl, I will save it. They too have reached the end of the line for our completed family. Packing away those final baby boy newborn clothes as our 4-month-old grows out of them is a sprinkle of extra salt in a tender wound.

Don’t get me wrong – my husband and I have very much made peace with our completed family, but just like many things in parenthood, you won’t necessarily be spared from the pain. If there is one thing I have learned in my seven years of parenting, heartache is inevitable and growing pains never seem to disappear. Just when you are starting to feel comfortable, the tides of change come roaring in.

That size 2T toddler is now in grade school, and new parenting challenges loom on the horizon. But don’t keep your eyes on that horizon for too long, because your youngest just started becoming mobile and you don’t want to miss it. You don’t want to miss a second, and in between worrying about missing a second and blinking goodbye, goes the newborn clothes that say “Hello, I’m new here.” It most certainly is oh so bittersweet.

I won’t leave you on a sad note. I will say, as the old gets packed up, it makes way for new adventures. My 3-year-old’s first pairs of soccer shorts and leotards for dance are now in their place and ready to go. My oldest son and daughter’s ever-changing styles come to life, and a new wardrobe is created to reflect our busy schedules that are packed with new family adventures and activities. For as children grow, so does the possibility for new experiences.

I also take comfort in knowing my momma t-shirt, sweatshirt, and jewelry collection will continue to grow, as will my proud photo button display. That reminds me that some things don’t change, and being their momma is one of them.