For every cute outfit you see a baby wearing, take a moment to think about all the outfits left behind. These poor fabric souls languish in a closet and never get to see the light of day, the flash of a camera, or the warming touch of a pool of spit-up. So many thoughtful shower gifts sit with their tags unscathed. So much potential cuteness waits and waits for the opportunity to be worn that will never come.
There are the strangely shaped outfits that seem cut to fit a dachsund. There are ones with scratchy logos. There are outfits that would never possibly fit a child of prodigious length. There are some that are just too hideous to deface a precious baby. Is it their fault? Do they deserve onesie purgatory?
There are outfits whose only crime was to be accidentally mislaid or buried somewhere in the back of the clost. How sad it is to discover "My Dad is Rad" or "Little Baseball Star" in outgrown 3 month sizes! They never even had a chance.
And there are the baby clothes that have been retired, outgrown and relegated to the out-of-rotation pile. These might be the saddest of all. Today's all-star outfit in daily rotation is talking big in tomorrow's give-away pile. Even the cutest, most essential daily staples meet their fate in the end. Not all go willingly to the laundry scrapheap of history.
"I don't belong in this pile! I was worn home from the hospital! You have any idea how many pictures I am in! I was in their Baby Announcement! I'm not like the rest of you. I was WORN. I'm somebody! I bet I could still fit if they really wanted me to. I can stretch! Yes, I can stretch! I've got some synthetic fibers. HRRMMGGGH. See! I can probably get up to 6M. They just need to get me out of this pile and try me out again. There must be some kind of mistake. You'll see. I won't be here long. I'll be back in the dresser before you know it. Somebody get me out of this pile!"
"Yeah, yeah. We've heard it all before," responds My Dad is Rad. "You're the king of the world. Pipe down and get back in the pile. Noone's coming for you. You're too small, you're faded, and you've got a milk stain. Face it. You're one of us now. If you play your cards right, maybe Mikey will get a little brother to wear you some day. Let's just hope the cat doesn't find us again. The cat pee holocaust of 2008 nearly wiped us out. You want to make it in the pile, you need to be quiet, keep your neck hole down, and make some friends."
Looking at these former all-stars is like watching late career Emmit Smith or Brett Favre. You saw glimmers of the old magic, but you can never go back. No matter how cute and how essential each outfit was in its day, the inexorable march of time will relegate all to the pile in the end.
All we can do is try to keep the closet clean. We check the dark recesses to look for stragglers. We can find diamonds in the rough and give them their day in the sun. Finally, we can treat our retired outfits with the respect that they have earned. They will find new life with new babies, yet unborn to our friends and family. Or, we can hold onto them until the day when we can say, "Your older brother Mikey wore that when he was a little like you."