We have been the lucky recipients of some fabulous hand-me-downs. When a box from cousin Micah comes full of clothes for Sam, he can't wait to see what's inside. A striped shirt? Rubber boots? A bucket hat? If I'm having trouble getting him to decide on something to wear in the morning, I can tell him, "How about this shirt? This used to be Christian's!" and he'll snap to attention and say, "Really? OK."
When Sam outgrows the clothes, they go in a crate marked with their size and wait in a closet for Levi. It's fun to tell Sam, "Look, you used to wear this shirt!" It's even more fun when we have a picture of him in a particular shirt that Levi now fits into.
Hand-me-downs are great. Cousins and friends lived life in these clothes and were thoughtful enough to pass them along to us. To me they are reminders of our loved ones. I'm sure at some point Sam will refuse to wear hand-me-downs, but for now he thinks they're pretty cool, too.
I have to admit, my favorite hand-me-downs have been those for Nate. I saved a handful of my favorite things from Sam and Levi's babyhoods. But since he was a winter baby and the other two were born in warmer months, we needed a few things. Some contributions from new friends in the neighborhood, and these meant a lot because of what they represented: physical proof of new friendships.
But a whole lot of other items were given by my friend Megan. Meg was my best friend in high school, but we also attended elementary school together. She was my maid-of-honor, and as adults we have found ourselves living in the same city, 6 hours from where we grew up. She now has 3 boys as well, her youngest is about 8 months older than Nate.
So last November, when I went out to breakfast with Meg and another childhood friend, Brenda, she gave me 3 large bags full of baby boy clothes.
Now, Brenda, who I went to preschool with and who was also a best friend and a bridesmaid in my wedding and also moved to the area after college, is pregnant with her first. She is due in June with a boy. So when I saw her today, I gave her the first bag of Nate's hand-me-downs.
If you had told us in high school that our children would share clothing, we would have laughed at you. It's so good to have life-long friends.
And now, just for fun, can you tell who's who?
Nate is on the top, Sam in on the bottom!