When we moved into our new five bedroom house, we had visions of who would sleep where. We put a twin-sized bed in what we called “Grant’s big boy room” and put the crib in the room closest to the master bedroom. Our oldest son was across the hall in the biggest bedroom, vaulted ceiling included. Grant would sleep in the nursery until Baby Brother arrived and was ready to transition to a crib. I had no intentions of putting Reece in a crib right away due to the high energy demands of night nursing. I had envisioned snuggling him and cosleeping in the twin sized bed until he was big enough to survive a night without milk. Grant would stay put until Reece really needed the space of his own bed. I bought Reece some new art work even though Grant was still using the room.
When Reece died, I saw that plan crash like a fast train coming to a complete stop. All of the baby items we had been collecting was in that room for adding one more to the family. For a long time, I shut the door on “Grant’s big boy room” and never went in there. The biggest items were easily parted with and luckily, I didn’t have to worry about the crib, because up until last week in August, it was still occupied. For all I cared, Grant could sleep in there until he physically couldn’t anymore. Since my first plan burned up, I wanted him to be the one to decide when he was ready. And he did.
“Imma big boy,” he exclaimed to us every day after his first week of daycare. He was now sleeping in a twin-sized bed during naps at our beloved caretaker’s house. He is now sleeping in a twin-sized bed full-time here at home. I had only been teasing when I offered to read him bedtime stories in the “big boy bed.” He never looked back after that. I moved his pillow and blanket to the new bed and tucked him in gently. I returned to the other room, took one look at the empty crib, and crumpled into a puddle of tears.
The space of Reece’s absence speaks so loudly sometimes, it fills my ears with a constant hum. Sometimes it is heard in the baby stuff that has gone unused. As Grant transitioned to the other room, the closet full of baby items had to be addressed. The most sensitive item left in all of the things was the play mat we had bought for Reece.
When Grant had outgrown the original play mat I bought when Dane was born, I sold it to a friend. I had a really hard time finding one that I liked that didn’t make some sort of obnoxious music. Ryan finally convinced me to buy the one I had been eye-balling on Amazon. When it arrived the second week of September, the boys were curious and I was hoping to generate some excitement in myself so we opened the playmat. It was beautiful: the fabric was gender neutral polka dots and sweet-faced jungle animals. We snapped it together and the boys crawled under it and laid down. My mind flashed to them crowding their poor tiny brother in his one safe place on the floor, what with a dog and plenty of dirty feet about the house.
When Reece died, the playmat stayed in its box indefinitely, crammed up on the highest shelf out of sight. Anything we had bought new just for him held a particularly acrid taste. Now, finally having to touch the playmat box and see the delighted smiling babies on the box, I knew I had two choices. Regift this brand new toy or attempt to sell it. The thought of either overwhelmed me. I did not want to see anyone I knew setting this toy up in their house. I also didn’t want to chase people to get out from under it.
What if I could return it? I checked our Amazon account. The purchase had been made almost a year ago. No way. There has been an article circulating social media about a bereaved mother who was humiliated at Babies R Us for attempting to return her baby’s items. Babies R Us, you are disgusting. Those who are interested can read the article here: http://ijr.com/2016/08/683409-after-devastating-miscarriage-mom-humiliated-by-being-offered-two-cents-by-babies-r-us/
But I tried for a return anyway. I emailed customer service and explained the situation. No questions asked, the return was granted. I asked my husband to take care of it from there. He placed a label on it and drove it away. A huge sigh of relief. Kudos to Amazon for having a heart.
The next step was the crib. My first line of business was to strip the mattress and flip it sideways. Now it doesn’t seem empty so much as it’s a wooden storage bin.
I can enter the room with less heartache than before but the diapers and the clothes and the breastpump and all the things are still in there. It may be a long slow process to unclench my hands from the rest of the baby items. (Some things are NEVER going. Ergo carrier for life! My wise older sister said it is worth keeping, and she is older, so she must be right.)
I felt brave today and upon seeing a visitor, decided to take the boys to the hardware store. Reece’s room will always be called Reece’s room. It’s time to fill this small nursery full of goodness and hope, starting here.