The littlest brother right there? He’s wearing the first pair of shoes we ever bought for my oldest son. You know, the little brown leather ones with the Velcro, that were most certainly going to make him trip less and run faster.
“These tiny shoes cost $50?”
I remember my husband asking rather incredulously. I argued my case and convinced him that we would get our money’s worth and that our son would most certainly run like a gazelle in them.
And he did run. And we did get our money’s worth. Four sons have worn those shoes, and they’ve been faithful to the end.
They’ve been to the aquarium, the park, the playground.
They’ve stepped in puddles and salty ocean water.
They’ve been filled with sand from the beach, boundless energy, and adventure.
Those little brown shoes have walked each of my boys through the second year of their life.
There’s also that little green and white shirt I picked out for you during the 2010 Olympics. It was hanging there waiting for me on the clearance rack, and I was just so excited to deck you out in our home city Olympic gear.
You remember that shirt with the world’s tiniest pocket on the arm, don’t you? All 18 month old children require an arm pocket to carry all of their most precious things, a cheerio and a racecar.
You looked like a big boy when you wore it. A real man shirt; you had no more tolerance for those little baby onesies. I was witnessing your metamorphosis from baby to toddler in one afternoon.
Now your baby brother wears it. We’ve now seen two more Olympics come and go; nearly a decade has flown by. That same little shirt has been packed up every time a brother outgrew it, and tucked away for “perhaps” another day. “Perhaps,” just one more baby brother who will need it.
Four rounds that shirt went through, and eventually it’ll be sent to the thrift store to maybe become somebody’s cool vintage find.
Don’t worry though, I’ll still remember all of the picnics that shirt went on. I’ll remember the tears you dropped on it when you fell over, the boogers you wiped on the sleeves, and how the green colour made your eyes sparkle when you wore it. I’ll remember.
I’ll also remember those little striped pyjamas of yours.
I’ll remember how you learned to walk in those ones, just one week before your first birthday. That was the day I mentally recorded the sweet sound that footy pyjamas make while walking across a wooden floor.
What a faithful zipper in those pyjamas, more faithful than the toes, which have long since been cut off to make your little brother’s feet more comfortable.
I can tell it’s getting too short on him, but it’s the last round.
It’s the last time that little hand me down will be handed down. My little hand is going to have to hand it off, and that’s a little bit hard for me.
That little storage box under my bed is getting emptier. It doesn’t get refilled like it used to.
But it does hold the bigger clothes now. Future clothes that “one day soon,” somebody will get to wear.
That Batman shirt that was just such a good find, and those new jeans without the holes in them yet…
They’ll take you all on your next adventures, and they’ll be what you all get to wear while we make our future memories.
And I’ll make you stop and smile for a photo, because I’m your mom, and that’s what I do.
So smile please, and let me savour and remember; your little brown shoes, your sweet green shirt, and your striped footy pyjamas, and how sweet they looked on you, and every last one of your brothers too.