I was just hanging up the washing on the drying rack that hangs over the bannister in our attic when I dropped a clothes peg. I was struck by a wave of nostalgia as I watched the brown, wooden peg tumble down the stairs. Yes, a clothes peg. An innocent everyday household item but it momentarily stopped me in my tracks. I paused what I was doing whilst my thoughts involuntarily floated back to a different time. One not so long ago in reality but one that feels so long ago.
Once upon a time I needed a LOT of pegs to hang the washing up on the clothes dryers. The clothes were so small, the line was full of tiny socks, little sleeveless rompers, all in one baby suits, pyjamas, cloths. I could get five or six items on one line of the clothes airer, sometimes even more. By the time I’d finished hanging up the load from the washing machine my peg bag would be empty.
In fact, my clothes peg collection just kept growing to keep up with my growing family. Layer upon layer of tiny clothes hanging to dry. A reminder of the babies in the house. Babies that went through a few outfits a day, creating endless lines of washing. Tiny, tiny clothes making up stacks and stacks of washing.
And now, this morning, in the emotional aftermath of celebrating my eldest’s seventh birthday, it suddenly struck me that the peg bag is never empty. There are never more than two clothes items hanging side by side to dry on the line.
The trousers are suddenly bigger, the T-shirts are wider and longer, some of the children’s socks are hard to distinguish from my own. The endless lines of muslins are long gone, now used as cleaning rags or disposed of after years of mopping up after the beautiful babies that have filled our home.
There are a few rompers left, but they are no longer those of a baby, but of an active toddler who will soon have no need of nappies nor the rompers that encase them.
There are shirts and pyjamas that hang to dry that have been with us from the time my eldest was a toddler, now on their third and last adventure. Soon they too will be too small for my little family and they will head to a local woman’s shelter, to join the baby clothes we sent there, donations to help other families who are in need, other babies that are less fortunate than mine. Those little garments hang now on the clothes line of another home. A far different home than the ones they started off in.
I hope when a mother dresses her baby there in the shelter, in a second hand romper and a pair of soft blue velvety trousers, despite the difficulty she finds herself in, she sees the miracle before her, holds her bundle and is filled with love. And the clothes we donated have new life breathed into them.
So, I guess, one of theses days, I’ll be able to get rid of lots of clothes pegs. But for now, I count my blessings – all because I dropped a clothes peg this morning.