I stand by the foot board of the bed, a pile of much used, well-loved clothes on the rocker before me. The sounds of raucous laughter echo off the bathroom walls where the kids are in the shower. I fold each piece slowly, lovingly. Each PJ, tee, pant and dress tells a story. Of many nights spent on the couch watching TV together. Of feeding the kids from the same bowl. Of spills and stains and disciplining them. I see the years pass by in front of me.
From Disney to Peace signs and cool captions. From sleep sacks to two piece pjs. Each dress reminds me of the times spent shopping for them. With them. Some are hand me downs. The velvet fabric still capturing the ambient light and weaving magic. I sigh as I put each away. The bags fill up. Slowly. Steadily.
Fresh from the shower, Pattu heads straight for the next pile on the ground. She picks up a red shiny skirt. Her ‘Indian’ dress as she calls the lehenga. She promptly tries it on and preens before the mirror. Ammu follows suit. She is now dressed in a traditional white and gold skirt and blouse. They run downstairs to show off their dresses to their doting grandma.
The sounds fade and I focus on getting the clothes out of way before they decide to ransack it again. My mind is stuck on the years gone past. This bi-annual ritual of pruning closets and mercilessly tossing out the clothes that sit on the shelf waiting for me to fit into them is therapeutic. I feel sad adding clothes with tags still on them to the pile. I do it before I have a chance to change my mind.
Five huge bags filled with clothes now line the sparse bedroom wall. The kids are back and the clothes they shed lead me on a trail to the full length mirror. I pick up the discarded paavadais and add them to the bags. I lean on the closet wall watching my soon to be kindergartener(s) pin their hair with clips and lean back to study the effect.
They are little people I realize. Kids who have grown into mini adults with a personality and tastes definitely their own. The guard is changing and life is shifting gears. Few things drive it home like cleaning the closet.