I reached into her pajamas drawer unconsciously grabbing the worn polka-dotted flannel that felt like home in my hand.
“Those don’t fit me anymore, Mama,” my 6-year-old daughter informed ever so gently, as if somehow knowing those words could literally break my heart.
“Are you sure they don’t fit?” I asked with a hint of desperation in my voice. “Could we just see?” I already had the head opening of the pajamas prepped and ready for her curly head of hair.
My easy-going child shrugged and happily pulled the pajamas over her head to appease me. But as she struggled to stuff her 6-year-old arms into size 4 armholes, we began to laugh.
“Okay, you were right, “I grinned. But honestly, I wanted to cry.
“I know you love my panda ‘jams, Mama,” my child consoled. Oh yes. That little girl has always been an observant one. “But instead of putting them back in my drawer, maybe you could keep them in a safe place.”
It was my daughter’s nice way of telling me to stop putting them back in her drawer. And as much as I hated to admit it, she was right; it was time to retire the panda pajamas. But I certainly wouldn’t be stuffing them into a donation bag with other outgrown clothes. You see, the panda was my target when I really, really needed a target. It was my target for letting to go to live. It was my target for a Hands Free life.