The other day, I finally did it. I made the long walk across the aisle for my oldest son.
No, I’m not talking about the wedding aisle. (It’s way too soon for that, people. Let’s not even go there. I’m already tearing up.)
But it’s one that similarly brings tears and bittersweet feelings and change. It also stirs up sweet memories. It feels much too soon. And it creates more of an ache in me than I thought it would.
I’m talking about the long walk from the baby clothing section to the kid’s clothing section.
I know, I know. That probably sounds silly and sentimental. It’s really only a couple of steps. It’s good that he’s growing up. What’s the big deal?
Here’s the story.
It starts out of desperation. He has suddenly, overnight it seems, grown out of all his clothes. His pants are that awkward place between full-length and capri. His shirts show off his belly button at the slightest move.
When I realize it can’t be put off any longer, I head to Target. To our normal baby/toddler section.
These won’t fit him, I think, swiping through shirts upon shirts, and pants upon pants on racks. I steal a glance over at the boys section, but it just seems way too big. The mannequins look like—gulp—school-aged boys. Surely we’re not there yet.
But after a few unsuccessful moments, and some hesitation, I slowly wheel my cart over. And what should take a few steps seems like a long trek into a different world. We can’t possibly be doing this yet.
I look back, longingly at the baby and toddler section.
The very same one I browsed through with a pregnant belly, wide-eyed, before I even knew whether Baby was a boy or girl.
The one we dashed to when all the adorable clothes we got at baby showers were too impractical for everyday use, and we grabbed all the onesies we could.
The one where I snagged his first pair of swim shorts and rash guard.
The one with the footie pajamas.
The one where we found his “first birthday” t-shirt, along with all the other firsts: first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first St. Patrick’s Day. His holiday “Gift to the Ladies” onesie came from here.
And on and on. For years. Four years.
But now, the 5Ts, which seemed so big for so long, no longer cut it.
Honestly, it had me grappling with confusion for a minute. Is there maybe a 6T I’m missing? How different are size 5 and size 5T really?
The answers are no, and very.
And so, here we are. I’m picking up t-shirts that tout Harry Potter slogans and sports brand logos. There’s actual athletic gear in this section.
We’ve crossed a threshold.
We’re out of the part of the store with the animal faces on bottoms and the teeny tiny socks. We’re in the area with video game characters we’ve never seen before and realistic-looking (not cartoon) dinosaurs and bugs. This is unknown territory.
So pardon me while I mourn for a bit that we’re now no longer an exclusively baby section family. (No, literally, you might see me crying as I look at jeans without drawstrings. I’m only human.)
The walk across the aisle is only a question of just a few inches and feet. But the distance feels like miles in between.
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