This little pair of aqua leggings (size 3-6 months) was part of a "Hey! Congratulations on having a baby...here's a sweet little outfit!" present when we had Abby from a good college friend. They came with a couple of cute onesies and an adorable pink skirt. They were later part of a pile of clothes that were outgrown and in need of being boxed up and stored should there ever be a time when we would need little girl clothes again of exactly that size for exactly that season. (Hey, what do you know...wishes do come true.) Suffice it to say that Audrey never got to wear these pants. Audrey was able to rock the onesies and the skirt (which, by the way, little diaper tushies clad in skirts are drool worthy...I do love me some cloth diapered baby bums), but she never so much as slipped a wee little piggy in either leg of THE PANTS.
These pants became something of a legend with my oldest. All of her other loveys fell into and out of her affection, but she unwaveringly remained faithful to the end (foreshadowing!) of the life of these pants. By the time this pair of pants died as a torn, knotted, discolored, disgusting little scrap of cloth, Abby still thought of them as #1 in her world, trumping anything and anyone.
This is something of a requiem to Abby's pants, a eulogy a few months late. They've been back in my mind as I accidentally discovered one of the cuffs of these pants stashed, for safekeeping perhaps, in part of Abby's carseat a few days ago. A suspicious blue thread was sticking out and I quickly pocketed the scrap before Abby's eyes should find it and set her mind to longing for that which she can no longer have. And for a proper sendoff, here are a couple of pants stories that would wrench any toddler's loving heart. And as my final memory, a secret, which may or may not be revealed at the proper moment in approximately 20 years.
Memory #1: Abby took her pants with her EVERYWHERE. This, I assure you, is no exaggeration. Abby also enjoys going to cross country meets with Daddy. One lovely fall day when Abby was 2, she set out on one such adventure, pants in tow, and returned home sans pants. There was no napping that afternoon. There was much longing. There was a frantic call to the groundskeeper of the park where the meet was held and a return trip by the errant papa to retrieve the pants. And that kindly groundskeeper, bless his soul, must have been a grandfather, for who else would go out on a golf cart in search of a pair of blue infant leggings for one sad little 2-year old, wandering around acres and acres of empty grass? (Cross country meets are usually held on extensive acreage, mind you.) The pants were shockingly found and returned.
Memory #2: Abby stashed these pants in a good amount of "safe" places around our house, and we got pretty good at finding these on the quick when we needed to be out the door and the pants were nowhere to be found. She preferred such hiding places as in between couch cushions/chair cushions, in her bed, on the floor beside daddy's side of the bed, and inside her monkey backpack. Yet the crafty little toddler sometimes utilized the washing machine...safe place indeed. And speaking of the washing machine...
Memory #3: Have you ever tried to wrestle a lovey away from a toddler who is sick after the lovey has been puked upon and is in immediate need of a washing? It takes some tactical maneuvering, a word play two-step, if you will.
Memory #4: Abby has had a lot of ear infections and subsequently, has been to the doctor's office and the walk-in clinic a lot. The same doctor remembered Abby over the course of a couple of months because of her pants, her safety blanket that were not to be relinquished while being poked and prodded. The nurse at her regular doctor remembered her for the same reason.
Memory #5: Her pants were accidentally left at church once. The organist found them, knew they were Abby's, and kept them safe at church for her until Daddy could return and get them. Friends looking out for friends.
Memory #6: The final demise: Shortly after Thanksgiving last November, we couldn't find Abby's pants anywhere. We looked in all of the usual places, including the hampers and trashcans. And Abby still took a nap that day despite occasionally asking about/talking about her lost pants. Daddy was informed of the problem when he returned home from work, but nothing was found. By this point, the pants really were nothing more than the seams knotted together with a couple of frayed scraps of the legs yet intact. Both cuffs were missing, and the elastic of the waistband had long been showing through. The pants gods were with us again as they provided us the perfect, couldn't-have-scripted-this-any-better ending to the saga of the pants. I found the "pants" shortly after Abby was in bed and asleep for the night. I found them...and I DIDN'T GIVE THEM BACK. And Abby has never asked for them again. She lost them at just the right time when she didn't need them anymore, I guess. Her affections continue to stray from stuffed animal to stuffed animal, mostly settling on "kitty," but not always by any means. She's a cuddler and looks naked without having a lovey in her hands, vulnerable and also rather grown up. And despite the burden of the pants (and the grossness), always having to be aware of where she may have dropped them in a store or storing them in your pocket for her, they were indelibly part of her personality for almost 3 years. She still just doesn't look right without them. And here's my secret, which you can probably guess: I still have the pants, hidden in one of my dresser drawers. I fully intend to keep them and give them back to her someday, if only to give them to her to throw away. In fact, I have the last skeleton of the pants as well as the cuff that I just found and a couple of other large chunks that were ripped off of them at various points. I have them all, and I want to present them to her if for no other reason than to give her ONE tangible memory of "Abby's pants," for which she was so well known for such a major portion of her life so far.