The Unexpected Beauty in Hand-Me-Downs


I carefully boxed away all of Noah’s clothes in 6-month increments — labeling each box before stacking them in closets. I was relatively sure that I’d have another one, one day, and so I wanted to be prepared. That, and how can I get rid of these precious itty-bitty clothes that were only worn for weeks at a time?

Four years later, no second baby.

And so the boxes started to taunt me — questioning my fertility plans and tempting me with donation. Why am I holding onto these clothes when other babies could use them? 

Then when my sister got pregnant — and, lo and behold, with a BOY — I was glad to hand them over (especially because my sister bought 80% of those boxed-away clothes).

I was happy for the space, yes, but I was also happy to see them used again. To see another little body, with spastic movements and growing limbs, bring those long-forgotten baby clothes to life again.

I see my son again, in a way I had forgotten.

I remember exactly how old he was when he wore this bodysuit and that pair of PJs. I remember his beginning laugh and the spark that’s always been in his eyes. I remember the way his chubby arms felt around my neck and the way he’d look up at me, lovingly.

I remember it more clearly than any photograph could capture.

All from the hand-me-downs.

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