My capacity for sentimental attachment is really out of control. I went digging in my basement for the totes of cloth diapers I'd stored after our youngest finally started (but still suuuuper unreliably) using the potty. There are boxed up baby clothes that certainly give me the sniffles, but there's something about these diapers that threatens to undo me.
Changing diapers is such a small, regular act with a baby, but also, it is an intimate one. All hours of the day, sometimes multiple times within an hour, you lift and clean and swathe their little bottoms. When they are very small, they are pliable and sweet with their noodle-skinny legs. Later they may giggle and kick. Later still, they are just not having it, and you devise ways to distract or entertain them while you do the necessary deed. I remember reading that as much as I was tempted to make diaper changes as quick as possible when my girls got older and less willing, actually slowing down, taking my time, talking with my baby-then-toddler, would help me get back to the littler times, when it was a moment of quiet and care. Sometimes, that even worked.
And so it is surprisingly difficult to part with these diapers, because they remind me not only of my girls when they were small, but the rituals of caring for a baby - something I will most likely never do again, at least not with my own. As much as I do not miss the laundry, realizing that there's a part of your life that's truly behind you - even with new joys ahead - instigates a surprisingly deep sorrow.
Even when what you're mourning is a diaper change.