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Of Grace and Sippy Cups: Laundry, treasured time and life
January 21st, 2009
By Ginny Kubitz Moyer

I remember the first time I folded my son Matthew’s laundry. It was a month before his due date, and I was pre-washing the gifts from my baby shower. As I snipped plastic tags from the green and yellow clothes (we didn’t know his gender, so friends were carefully neutral in their gifts), I was watching - of all things - the 1950s classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” a DVD I’d borrowed from my neighbor.

As I sorted through the sleepers decorated with placid chicks and gentle giraffes, I knew that soon there would be a day when my own world would stand still, a day when I would meet the little being who was both so alien and so known to me.

Weeks later, Matthew was born, a blue-eyed boy with a full head of dark hair. Months passed; the green and yellow sleepers were replaced by larger ones in shades of blue, printed with fire trucks and racecars. Soon I was folding stiff little jeans and big-boy sweatshirts and socks for the toddler feet that ran excitedly throughout the house.

There is something so prayerful about folding children’s clothes. It’s a pause, a moment to reflect on the little bodies that inhabit the shirts and shorts and socks. It’s bittersweet, too. Now that I’ve seen Matthew grow from newbornhood to toddlerhood, I know how achingly fast the time passes.

I love seeing him expand his repertoire of skills, growing more verbal and more boylike, but it’s honestly painful, too. The hours that slip by in a haze of endless mothering chores are actually incredibly precious. These days don’t last forever, even if, in my weariness, it sometimes seems that they do. And once Matthew outgrows his clothes, he will never wear them again. To some things, there truly is an end.

Of course, now I’m a mom for the second time, and the cycle is repeating itself. Shortly before Luke’s birth, the box came down from the attic, and I once again started laundering the green and yellow sleepers. It was a treat to hold them to my face, these soft little outfits. It was even more prayerful the second time around.

But our burly little Luke has already outgrown the 0-3 month clothes. I’ve been passing them along to a pregnant friend, and I do so with an ache in my chest. There are a few items I’m literally unable to part with: a tiny red T-shirt, a sleeper that says MOMMY AND ME. I just can’t let everything go.

But it’s not really the clothes I want to keep forever. It’s this age, the beautiful baby months when Luke smiles his gummy smile, learns to hold his rattle, and laughs with the glee of the very new.

I love it, this sweet time when he fits perfectly against my shoulder, when his little body smells of warmth and sleep and babyhood.

No, I can’t make the earth, or time, stand still.

But, like all moms, I’d give anything to try.

Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of “Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God.” Contact Moyer via her blog at

From January 23, 2009 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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