Digging through our attic for the Christmas ornaments I came across a carefully set aside box of baby clothes. Not the modern baby clothes strewn throughout the rest of the room but far older. Baby blankets, some hand knitted some store bought but in styles so different from today’s. A few sweaters moth eaten and worn and my favorites, the delicate white dresses, embroidered with neat intricate stitches. Some stitched pink, some white and another in blue. They feel so fine and thin in my hands, it is hard to imagine a child such as ours rampaging about wearing them. They are crisp and unwrinkled, lovingly folded, the favorites, chosen to be saved and put away after the children were grown. I can easily picture my predecessor performing the bittersweet task, doubtless remembering sleepless nights and first steps as she worked. That is much easier than imagining my large, gruff Father-in-Law ever wearing such tiny fragile things.
I picked out a few, of the proper size and sturdier than the rest, to try for The Goblin Child. I am at the same time horrified at such a thing and at a loss as to what the proper treatment is for these treasures. They are family heirlooms, to be kept safe and appreciated. They are rotting away, worn down by moths and time, going to waste in the attic. Some should be framed and hung where they will be appreciated for the works of art that they are. Others, by all rights, should be thrown away, covered with holes and stains.
I won’t be throwing anything away of course, instead we will make careful use of what we can and leave the rest for me to rediscover at a later time or to be found by some other mother who will cherish the tiny memories of other children who have lived and loved on this farm. As my child grows I will pick out the outfits that mean the most too me and add to the collection.