Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why I am not letting go of baby clothes

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Reading http://www.elizabethstreet.com/living/letting-go-baby-clothes made me think beyond clothes, or rather thinking of baby clothes as symbols.

When visiting friends or going out my child does not act her age. In the most positive way possible. All think she is much older. She is a role model at the school. She is mature and wise beyond any of our would-like-to-believe-experienced lives. I like to believe it’s her name and its meaning and a bit of my genes J.

Yet with me, my child has an amazing ability to preserve that baby touch, feel, look and outlook. She cuddles at my chest with the same baby softness and gentleness  a breastfed baby does. I cherish tremendously every single moment of this travel into not so recent past. Our morning and bed time routines are treasures both of us will preserve for a life time and beyond.104821446

I had to grow up fast, given my childhood circumstances. I started walking at 9 months, talking, feeding and dressing myself at 12 months. I knew I have no one to rely on. There few traces of my childhood: couple of black and white pictures of a girl who looks too serious for her age. No toys, no baby cloths, no children books or drawings. It creates a void.

First unconsciously, now fully consciously I am filling in this gap with safekeeps. My special baby’s cloths have their shelves in my dressing room. Toys she outgrew go into special boxes. Most treasured little things she owned or touched or received from me and dear ones are in a special “treasures case”.

One might think you need a lot of space for it. Not at all,  I have to say. I was amazed by the amount of things we gather, collect, keep or simply forget we have when we moved house. It’s easy to trade the space absorbed by old, unnecessary, insignificant things  with room for cherished treasures you know will last for generations to come.

Undoubtedly, not every single piece of clothes are keepers. Especially knowing there are little ones who need them in view of their circumstances. Together with my kid we go through her clothes and decide together which piece stays for different special reasons: her first blue jeans, her first hoody, her first dress, or sun hat….. Plenty remains for the single mothers shelter we support. We both, thus, embrace the feeling of gratitude and solidarity, without letting go of any baby feels, touches and love, for a lifetime and beyond.

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“Thousand cranes” by Yasunari Kawabata

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photo-1A dear friend of mine gave it to me as a birthday gift, a nice addition to my “Read all Nobel prize for literature” project. The book has also a beautiful cover and precious sketches on the first pages of each chapter. This friend of mine is a great artist in all her choices.

Kawabata got the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 and he is the first Japanese author to receive the award.

photo 1The novel is a perfect reminder of that fine line between love and hate, regret and gratitude, beauty and beast, revenge and peace, friends and enemies, guilt and harmony, death and life, danger and safety.photo 2

A young man, Kikuji, finds himself unwillingly, as the author wants us to believe, caught in a power game of two former mistresses of his father. My take is that he wanted to know, to taste it and immerse into past to come to peace with his father and his own masculinity. A young lady whom he meets at a tea ceremony, orchestrated by his father’s mistress, and the daughter of the other mistress, Fumiko, appear to me as symbols of life choices. photo 3In any tea ceremony ever gesture has a meaning, meanings Kikuji will embrace latter on. His urge to understand his father’s choices and his own masculinity guides him to a relationship with one of his father’s former lovers, Mrs Ota. A sensitive nature, she commits suicide, leaving her daughter on the edge of insanity. Kikuji is also marked by her choice to end her life and is left wondering “Had Mrs. Ota died unable to escape the  pursuing guilt? Or, pursued by love, had she found herself unable to control it? Was it love or guilt that had killed her?”
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My favorite part is the description of Kikuji paying respect to a soul who loved him: “as he knelt with closed eyes before the ashes, her image failed to come to him;but the warmth o her touch enfolded him, making him drunk with its smell. A strange fact, but, because of the woman, a fact that seemed in no way unnatural. And although the touch was upon him, the sensation was less tactile than auditory, m u s i c a l.