The One Thing I Can’t Give Away

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For nearly five years, our grey and green infant Chicco car seat accompanied me everywhere. I gently rocked it during Bible study (while praying for a nap), it sat next to me on the booth while we dined out (totally frazzled), it secured each of our (often screaming) infants during car rides, and it provided the transfer of a still sleeping baby (fingers crossed) from the car to our next activity.

Twice I’ve put that infant car seat on the front porch for a Goodwill donation pick up and twice I’ve brought it back into the house. I had to rescue it from the fate of life with a stranger, only I know the stories woven into her fibers.

As our newborns grew into infants, the seat served as an hourglass revealing the the passage of time. The tiny bodies of our recently born were nearly enveloped by padding and straps, but with each passing month, their heads and feet stretched beyond previous boundaries. My heart expanded with my children’s stats, scarcely able to comprehend those gifts of life.

The Chicco seat has been an integral piece of baby gear for all the reasons I’ve outlined, but maybe nothing tugs at my heartstrings more than the fact that we brought all of our babies home from the hospital in it; a common denominator to the beginning of four precious childhoods. I remember the pride, joy, and excitement swirling in the cloud of a postpartum fog like they were yesterday. As I buckled in each new child, flesh of my flesh—I felt both the wonder and the weight of each new lifelong commitment.

We’d prayed for babies for years, and when they came and I needed the gear to go with them, somehow the car seat came became the item that represent my greatest longing fulfilled. I finally had babies! I don’t know why it wasn’t a blanket, stuffed animal, or a crib that captured my sentiment of the baby years, but I am washed in every emotion again each time I’m tempted to rid our home of the (now) unnecessary item.

No wonder the seat is back in my basement.

To give you a small taste of all the places this car seat has been and babies she’s held, I give you the following pictures and stories….

Baby Number 1: Hope Restored

In 2009,when our car seat was perfectly shiny and fresh out of the box; I’ll never forget the pride my husband had as he brought it to the hospital room to take home our firstborn daughter. We drove very, very slowly back to our 3rd floor walk-up in Chicago and when we arrived, set her on the kitchen countertop and co-inspected her with deep gratitude that God had answered our prayers of becoming parents.

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Baby Number 2: A Promised Fulfilled

16 months later, big sis graduated out of the infant car seat, and we cleaned up the Chicco just a fews days before our son was due. When I was pregnant the first time, a woman had prayed prophetically over me that, “The boys would come later,” and then this one came, fulfilling a promise we received through prayer. We had the calm confidence of second time parents and were thrilled to bring home our calm boy on a rainy day in New Jersey.

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Baby Number 3: The Light

Our biggest baby came 3 days after her due date, and my husband missed the delivery getting the camera out of the car because it was so fast. On her 20 week ultrasound, they had found two dark circles (brain cysts) that were potentially devastating. When she was reexamined at 32 weeks gestation, the cysts were gone and the dark circles were replaced by light on the scan. We named her Lucia, meaning, light, and her smile has brightened our lives since we brought her home to a new house in Michigan.

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Baby Number 4: The Completion

After three kids, I’d look around the table and sense an empty space, someone was missing. So we tried again, and after another miscarriage, were blessed with our last guy, the icing on the cake. He has provided laughter, charm, and joy to our family. When we brought him home (still in Michigan then), it felt peaceful and easy, and the wonder of new life was shared with the three doting siblings.

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There are many more memories wrapped up in this piece of plastic. Giving away our infant car seat would be confirm, The baby years are over—there’ll be no more trips home from the hospital, no more praying for a nap, no more lugging, and no more snuggling— I’m not eager to agree that that season has come to an end. I don’t want those years wiggle out of my grasp so quickly, I’m fighting to hold onto to the memories and accompanying emotions that linger like they were yesterday.

So this seat—a friend for a long season, physical representation of my hopes fulfilled, and memory keeper—will stay with me until I make peace with the longing I’m carrying over the really beautiful baby years.

Comments

  1. Cathy Wheeler says:

    Just beautiful. Now I don’t want you to ever get rid of it either! So wonderful to see each precious face along with your description of them. Best memories ever.