There's something that happens inside of me when I get to look for new clothes for her. I think it's because after having three boys in a row, I never thought I'd ever get to buy dresses or cute pink sweaters.
Maybe it's that Pavlovian response I developed when walking by any children's store window with little girl outfits beautifully put together. My heart used to ache with the doubt that we'd ever get to buy those gorgeous plaid Christmas dresses or little fancy Easter shoes.
As luck would have it, I had a 40% off coupon for the Gap store just in time for winter. Score.
Heading to the mall, I excitedly took our baby girl and walked into the children's section that was festively decorated for the holidays.
Going straight for the pretty dresses (I know, I know...we're looking for sweaters) I combed through the displays for her fit. She's outgrowing a size 5 now, so I began to look for a 6 to get her through the winter.
Hmmmm...nothing. Everything seemed to be small. A sales rep must have seen my expression and came over.
"Can I help you? Are you finding everything you need?"
"Oh, hi! Thanks. We're just looking for something in her size."
"What size is that?"
"A six I guess."
Nodding to the next 'Gap' store over (the big kid store) she smiled and said, "Oh, you'll find what you need over there."
It was like a punch in the stomach.
(Over there? Our baby can't fit clothes over there.)
That's where we get things for the boys, but they're bigger and older...and...smelly.
We shop for her at the little girl's section. The cute, little dresses and bows, adorable little kid section.
It was hard enough to pull myself away from the baby/toddler area three years ago...but this? THIS? This can't be happening.
I took a deep breath, smiled, and said, "Oh, okay. Thank you."
The kind woman must have heard my internal dialogue and smiled saying, "It's okay mom. You're going to be fine."
Holding hands, Lauren Elizabeth and I crossed over to the "other side". We found some really cute outfits which were pretty and nice. There was definitely an older flare to them which hurt my heart, but the bigger she gets, I know she'll, (ahem) I'll be ready.
For now though, just one last time, I went back to the children's section and grabbed a little size five outfit for her to wear over the next colder month or two. I knew it would be the last time I'd be able to do it and the tiny sizes suddenly never seemed so small. It was a bitter/sweet feeling to say the least.
Our little girl's growing up and there's nothing we can do to stop it.
I guess at least for now though, I'll smile knowing that she'll still able to wear her tiny cute boots to help her along the way.