“Momma why is it this way?” she asks me.
The eyes imploring, wanting more.
“We couldn’t make it work, your Dad and I”.
“We had big dreams that we couldn’t share. Now your Daddy has someone who shares those dreams and it will be good”.
“So you broke apart then Momma” she whispers as she unlaces her fingers from mine.
“Oh my Ellie girl nothing is broken. It can’t be broken. You exist.”
“I don’t understand Momma”.
“Daddy and I made you. You are made from the best parts of each of us woven together. You aren’t broken are you?”
“No Momma I am whole”
“So you see then even though Daddy and I aren’t married nothing is broken. You and Audrey and Sidney make us whole”.
I step in and I am transported back.
Flooded with memories of my making.
The clothing I now view as my collection.
They bring me sweet smiles each day while I debate what will be worn.
The sleeve of that dress I had on the first time the man I liked grabbed my hand. When I look at it, I can feel the texture and warmth of his touch in my palm.
The sweatshirt I stole from my brother’s closet freshman year in college. The edges worn, the letters faded. It’s now Sidney’s favorite. When I ask her why she takes it she tells me “it smells like you Momma“.
There’s the scarf my best friend gave me for Christmas one year that I wore on a colder then usual December vacation to Disney.
The cream blazer I splurged on was the first big purchase I hadn’t needed to “clear” with anyone, a reminder of the independence I now have.
And those running shoes. Always off to the side, ready to slide on each morning. A new pair every 6 months or so. Medals of all the miles logged.
For years I would walk into spaces like this in homes I made and question my worth. The skirt that felt too tight. The shirt that couldn’t hide what I thought needed hiding.
Gradually those feelings faded and all that is left is the goodness in those pieces.
And now when I find my niece standing in the center of that closet wearing my heels or Sidney in the Wittenberg sweatshirt, I feel such joy.
The clothes are comfort.
The fabric, memories of a life well lived.