If you were a guest in my house, it would look pretty ordinary to you. You probably wouldn't even be able to tell that a baby lives here -- or was supposed to, anyway. In the weeks following Ryan's death (I've been saying "death" a lot lately, and I used to always avoid that word -- I still don't really like it)... But after he died, I struggled with what to do with his "stuff." When you get pregnant, you start to accumulate a lot of things. Some things maybe could have waited until after we brought the baby home, but when you're excited, and planning, and oblivious to the fact that bringing baby home is not a guarantee, you gather things. Bottles, clothes, diapers, blankets, toys, swings, strollers...
These things were spread far and wide around my house. I had even gone as far as preparing a "baby station" in our living room -- a little basket full of baby necessities (diapers, soothers, lotions, blankets) so we wouldn't always have to run upstairs. I was so ready to bring my little man home.
It was decided right away to leave his nursery alone. The door stayed open, and his things inside the room stayed perfectly intact. But it took me over two weeks to start stripping away the obvious baby layers in my living room. Moving the "napping bassinet." Taking the swing up to his room. Sadly unpacking the "baby station" I had so lovingly and excitedly packed only a few weeks before.
But then that was it.
I couldn't erase the rest of it. I didn't want to remove the other traces that this house was meant for a baby.
If you were a guest in my house, you wouldn't notice the kitchen cupboard full of baby bottles, bibs, and other feeding things. You wouldn't notice the drawer and cupboard in the bathroom full of tiny cloths, hooded towels, and baby shampoo. You wouldn't notice the folded up stroller in the basement hallway. Or the shelves full of diapers in the laundry room. The car seat bases in the pantry. Or even the car seat in the front hall closet.
They're tucked away, in the corners of our home. And I've come to need to see them there. Because seeing those cupboards empty, the shelves unfilled, would feel just that. Empty. And I refuse to let my life without Ryan be empty. Feel empty. I want my house full of him. And the "stuff" that was his stays to keep me hopeful we will use it again-- or for the first time.
So, although baby things in a house without a baby may seem out of place to a guest here, they fit so perfectly in my eyes. Because there is a baby here. And I've got to believe that there will be more someday.