My cloth diapers are clustered into a giant wet bag, waiting outside my son’s room to be thrown into my car and dropped off with a friend. I try not to look at them, not to think about the tiny extra-small fitted diapers that I’ll never again Velcro over my newborn’s bottom. Taking them to the car seems like such a final step — we are done having babies.
It’s silly really.
We’ve been done cloth diapering for a while, when I gave in to the convenience and comfort of disposables under cute little boy jeans. We’ve been done having babies for even longer, thanks to modern medicine and a mutual decision that made sense to my husband and me for so many reasons.
Yet I look at that bag of diapers and think about Abbey playing at the cloth diaper boutique as I wandered between stacks of fluffy diapers, finding cute neutrals since the little boy was still a surprise nestled inside my body. I remember all the photos I have of him in only an over-sized fluffy diaper — on a playmat, pulling up on the couch, toddling after his sister.
I think of the way I’d have to force myself not to wrinkle my nose when people would look at my sweet baby boy with relief, “Oh! Now you have a boy and a girl. You’re done, right?”
I think of the arguments for more . . . sisters and brothers to fill the house and round out our small family into a boisterous crowd . . . the soft sweetness of a new baby . . . the support network we have in place.
I hear the rational arguments for keeping our family a little square foursome. Personal reasons like finances and patience and time and not wanting to spread any of those too thin. Philosophical reasons like limited earthly resources and population growth.
And I know when we decided to stop at two children, we made the right decision for us — maybe not for other families, but for us.
My resolve has wavered at times: seeing sisters with their heads bent over dolls, brothers wrestling on the floor, my sister-in-law’s five adult siblings, my niece’s soft baby hair and toothless coos.
Then my heart sees my kids sharing a bench at the library or the way they weave their interests together in imaginative play, train tracks weaving through dollhouse furniture and old Halloween costumes shared regardless of size.
As an afternoon pulls my patience into shreds, we curl on the couch to read a stack of books, and I feel my heart slow to normal as one of them fits perfectly into each arm.
On days when the four of us wander the zoo, we have a one-to-one parent-child ratio. When I’m alone with them, each has access to one of my hands.
I think of those moments as I walk past my overflowing bag of cloth diapers, and I know it’s time to let them go.