Since the Don was born, I have changed as a person, in many different, unanticipated ways. Equally, I think some other characteristics have been able to bloom with my (not so new and shiny) title of Mum. I am sure anyone who becomes a parent would agree with that, or who goes through a major life transition.
I have been grateful as I have come to appreciate that it truly takes a village to raise children. There are many helping hands out there, and many of them are nameless, they just reach out to help at the right time.
We have been very lucky to have received many hand-me-downs from some dear friends. I could not imagine how secure I would have felt clothing my kids without a good cushion of hand-me-downs as a base. We didn't have a lot of money with the Don, and now with Connor, well, since we have two boys, we really don't need much the second time around. For Connor, it is more impulse buys, when I find something that is really cute, at a great price. Oh, and shoes. Brandon thrashed his shoes so there aren't many shoes to pass down. Ah well. You win some...
what I am getting 'round to saying is that I have been very grateful and always wished I could do something as a thanks for the hand-me-downs (especially for one dear friend whom has saved everything possible from her two boys, you know who you are), but you can't really. What you can do, in my view, is pay them forward in the same spirit through which you received them.
Over the weekend, I sorted out the baby clothes to date that the boys have outgrown. Some for my cousin, some for a friend's babe, and some for a friend-of-a-friend. It just plain feels good to pay the clothes forward to someone else. Sure, I could go to a clothing swap, or put the clothes up for sale, but really, they made such a difference to us having, that it is right to pay them forward... and that is where the thanks comes in, knowing that the clothes are passing through hands that need them, that they aren't going to waste, because babies do not wear out their clothes by any stretch. In the first two years, babes go through at least 6 distinct sizes...holy shit, you can spend a lot of money on transitional clothes! Plus, there are some clothes that never get worn because they are the wrong size/season at the wrong time... or they just get buried in a drawer, never to be unearthed.
It feels good to send them on their journey, and to know that satisfaction that my dear friend(s) felt, knowing that someone who needs them, has them, and the story continues. So, thanks especially Nej - the (earliest) clothes and toys have always made a difference. They have merged with others, and ours, and are continuing on.