Mid-May. How did we get here so fast? The trees to be seen from the curve of the window arabesque-and-reverse in the cold front, or what passes for one this time of year, blown in last night. Newly-leaved; as graceful as girls in spring dresses.
Mid-May. The blackberries fingering the ditches are laden with knot-like white blossoms.
Mid-May. A couple of weeks ago I retrieved from the attic and unpacked the box labelled Clothes: Age 3, so that Younger Girleen would have shorts and skirts and sundresses for the summer. Sitting on the floor of her room unfolding them was like thumbing through a photograph album: oh, the dress Elder Girleen was wearing the night she had her first S’more, that week we spent at the beach…the skirt that arrived in the mail from Godmother M… When Elder Girleen was three, she might as well have been seven: I had no frame of reference but younger: three-years-old and she seemed grown-up, enormous.
At the same age, Younger Girleen is still a baby. So little! We carry her around like she’s a newborn. Those hand-me-down clothes seem so diminutive, so “cute.”*
I was an older sibling myself, and I found my parents’ laxness regarding my younger brother such a bitter pill to swallow! I mean, the first PG movie I got to see in the theatre was The Bad News Bears — I was probably eleven. My brother, a mere 8 1/2 at the time: what was the first PG movie he ever saw? Bad News Bears. I undertook a careful accounting and the results were clear: he got to be the baby but at the same exact time he got all the perks that should have gone only to me, being older. No fair!
Yesterday, I was putting away clean laundry and discovered a stash, a cache, at the back of Elder Girleen’s underwear drawer. There, carefully tucked at the back, were at least half of the 3T skirts and shirts I’d unpacked for Younger Girleen two weeks ago.
But these are too little for you, I pointed out to Elder Girleen (secretly impressed by the extent of her subterfuge).
But I LOVE them, she said. They were my baby clothes.
I thought of the way teams retire jerseys in commemoration. They were yours, I agreed and closed the drawer, letting them stay there, an homage to her younger self.
*I would say that girl’s clothes reach the pinnacle of cuteness at size 3T.