Thursday, February 02, 2006

Shopping and thinking

Since Thomas died I've had to choose three baby congratulations cards. Today was card #3...

It's difficult for the most obvious reason, but it's also hard because the selection available to me - to us - has dramatically diminished. They're either too happy (coming from the parents of a dead baby) or too preachy (for the same reason).

How can I possibly sign our names on a card for new parents that demands that they enjoy every minute with their precious bundle from God? It oozes with the implication that we want pity because we weren't able to and that they'd better not waste a second of the gift they've been given. Or else.

And how can I send one that drips with joy and goes on ad nauseum about how wonderful it is to welcome a new baby to your world since we never got to experience even one hint of joy after Thomas was born? We don't have a clue what it's like.

There are almost no cards for people like us to buy. And because it's so difficult to find one that has just the right amount of congratulatory sentiment and standoffish vagueness, the choosing necessitates picking up and reading virtually every card on the rack. Every. Single. Baby. Card. On. The. Rack.

These are things you don't think about when your baby dies. Add it to the list of things that are so incredibly different when you're the parents of a heavenly child.

I chose a gift to go along with the card and, among other things, picked up an adorable pair of pink kitten Robeez. The Vice President of the department where I was working when I was pregnant bought a pair of lion Robeez for Thomas. I was so excited!! They don't come cheap and they're the thing, apparently. I couldn't wait to slip them on his little feet and watch the lions go!

Anyway, as I left the store this afternoon I started thinking about Thomas' Robeez and wondering exactly how to refer to them - how to refer to anything that I had for Thomas.

Are they his things or were they his things? Does he have a pair of Robeez or did he? The slippers are still here - almost everything we bought or were given is still here. I've donated a few things I wasn't overly attached to, but probably 90% of Thomas' things are in boxes and tubs in the basement.

But I have no idea how to refer to them. He's gone but the things remain. Is it present or past tense?

Maybe they're present tense until we have another baby to use them. Then we can say, "Those were Thomas' Robeez, but now they're little Dick or Jane's."

I'm completely preoccupied with this.

How can it be almost a year and I can't figure this out?


Chrissy said...

I don't know if you are asking for advice on this or just pondering this concept and others that come up in your situation. I thought I'd chime in and say I think all of those things are Thomas'. Sadly he is not here to use them but they are his. I think when you have another baby then they will become that child's.


Sarah said...

I agree that they are Thomas' things.

I think of our baby things as Kate's. And think that they are her gift to any future children we have because she wasn't able to use them.

Although i didn't verbalize this thought on Monday when a friend's 3 year old saw Kate's room (crib, dresser, etc) and asked "whose room is this? who sleeps here". I eventually babbled something about its for if we have a baby someday. An adult or older child i would have been ok with saying it was Kate's room, but I don't know if she really knows about Kate. (i'll have to ask her mom) She was only 2.5 when Kate was born.

Sarah said...

Oh and for cards... I've moved onto pretty cards that are just blank on the inside and not baby specific at all. I figure its the best I can do without stressing myself out.

kate said...

I think they *are* Thomas' things too. I still think of Nicolas' things in the present tense like that, even though Chloe has used some of them -- 'that is Nicolas' onesie, that is Alexander's jacket that Chloe is wearing'. Chloe has many things of her own, but those that have been passed down from her brothers -- well they 'belong' to her brothers (living and dead). Interesting -- i never actually thought about it, until you mentioned it.

Re cards -- i do the same thing as Sarah, i have non-specific blank cards and i write personal messages in them. At first it was a defense mechanism but now it is just easier (and much cheaper). If i had to go to a store and buy a card it would never really happen.