Allana’s last post resonated with me on a very deep level.
I agree with her; giving away your baby things is a definitive statement about your future intentions in the department of ‘having more children’. Then again, so is ‘watching your husband get a vasectomy on national television’, but that’s another story for another day.
I have done both of these things, both times with an uncomfortable amount of crying on my part, and a sick feeling that ‘backing Sammy into a reproductive corner’ might just cause my body to impregnate itself in some otherworldly act of biological rebellion. Like an alien earthworm.
But when Allana wrote the word ‘shadowbox’, I was startled. Surely to God I was the only woman on Earth who had up to three giant bins of children’s items intended solely for the purposes of shadowboxing. After all, when you are dealing with a myriad of diverse children’s items of various shapes and textures, what could be better than a delightful shadowbox?
But first, you may be asking yourself, what the f*@k is a shadowbox? Easy! It’s a big deep frame type of dealie that you can jam all kinds of fun things into, and it’s multidimensional, like a catch-all for things that can’t just be stretched and pressed between panes of glass. Aren’t they kind of like building a shrine to your children? Uh-huh! Isn’t that sort of creepy? It sure is! Are you going to do it anyway? Definitely.
Imagining yourself as organized and artistic enough to put together amazing shadowboxes is the key to properly culling baby things and making space in your home. (But only if that artistic shadowbox also has a miniature hammer mounted below it for when you have an ovulatory emergency and you need to break the glass and sniff the booties of your tiny babies. Or for their first day of Kindergarten. Or First Grade. Or a rainy day when you’re just feeling kind of blue. Or maybe right now.)
I personally have three giant boxes un-ironically labeled “Precious Things”, into which I put anything from my children that I even remotely think might cause me to openly weep. When I lift the lid of this box, I do so with great trepidation, as it is literally like opening a trap door holding back a tsunami of joyful memories. It’s like that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the nazi opens the Ark of the Covenant and his face melts off, only for me it’s just mascara grotesquely running down my face as I dissolve on the floor in a puddle of tears.
If you are ever at my house and I disappear for two hours without any explanation, just come and look for me in my bedroom. On my way to the kitchen to refresh your drink I must have located an errant baby sock and decided it was worthy of going in a box. I must have thought just this one time I could tuck it away without incident. I couldn’t. I’m going to need some tissues. Thanks. And a shot of whiskey. Yay! Shadowboxing!
“Precious Memories” contains such things as: umbilical stumps, things with stripes, a newborn Hooters t-shirt from that time I was in Ohio, a stuffed penguin, and a single, stained onesie with a turtle on it that all of my children were forced to wear at least once. Yes it was feminine. Yes I made my son wear it. Yes I did so in order to validate my desire to one day put it into a shadowbox.
On that note, my son currently has an orange hammer in the toy rotation that I’m eyeballing. Every time he takes it out of the house I quietly whisper to myself: “Don’t lose the hammer. Please don’t lose the hammer. I really need it for my shadowbox.” I would dearly love to snatch away from him permanently so that he can never play with it again, and I can adore it in shrine form when I am old. My husband assures me that it would not be beneficial for his final memory of the orange hammer to be me wrenching it out of his hands and stowing it out of sight.
Here’s the thing: I don’t even like shadowboxes. I’ve never seen one I ever admired, owned one, or ever had the impulse to put one together until The Miracle of My Children occurred. Now I have enough stuff for up to twenty shadowboxes of varying degrees of crazy obsession.
Here’s a question I can’t answer: “If you have so many shadowboxes in mind for your children, why don’t you have any pictures of them up on your walls?”
Oh, right. Haha. It’s true.
Please don’t ask me any more questions.