I love hand-me-downs. I am no snob. I think they are wonderful. My kids wear them with pride and and are just as excited with a trash bag full of clothes as a bag from the local kids' store. Usually more so, as they can try them on while watching a movie in our living room.
I am a huge fan of "deals". I love "steals". This has been installed in me since childhood. My dad would stop the car to "rescue" something from the side of the road, his favorite bike was from a dumpster, and we would roam thrift stores and proudly display our finds (and tell what we paid if complimented)!
When I had Gabriel we were still in undergrad college. He grew so fast it was ridiculous! He was a hefty 20 lbs at 4 months. An insane 35 lbs at 1 year. (Amelia is only just 34 lbs now.) I couldn't get into my pre-pregnancy clothes, not because I didn't lose my tummy weight, but because I bulked up in my arms, chest and upper back in muscle from lugging him around. Needless to say, he raced through baby clothes sizes. He didn't have time to wear anything out until he was 5. (People would ask if he was starting kindergarten while sitting in his stroller at the mall. He was 3.) We could barely keep him in clothes. (Now mind you, both sets of grandparents bought for him, and would have, if we asked, but we tried not to.) I often would raid the 25 cent bin at Goodwill.
I was going to a Bible study for mothers when he was about 1 and 2 months. A lady named Greta asked me one night if I wanted her son's clothes, she had a few things that she didn't need anymore. A swing and 3 boxes of boy clothes. The swing was an answer to prayer. Gabriel LOVED it. The clothes boxes, however, contained a miracle.
Do you remember the story of Elijah and the widow? Elijah asked a widow for some bread and she said she didn't have enough food for herself and her son, there was a famine going on. He said if she would bring him a small loaf first, she would have enough for herself and her son until the famine ended. And it was so. God provided. Daily.
The "Greta Box" was the same way. I cannot tell you how many things came up that I NEEDED for Gabriel. If I needed something, I would check the box. It would be there. For 2 years. From shoes, to Halloween costumes. Now, if that is not a Elijah thing, I would like to know what is. God used the Greta Box to create miracles just for us, over and over.
As a matter of fact, hand-me-downs are such a presence in our lives that it prompted a funny story.
I loved the series "Life Goes On". I watched it and loved it through college on re-runs. Little did I know that it would touch my life so compellingly. I bought Season 1 from McKay's a while back to enjoy. I revved it up one day and Gabriel, (happy to watch ANYTHING on TV) joined me. It took about 15 minutes, and he turned to me and said "You know, that guy looks a lot like Elise. Does he have Hand-me-Downs, too?" True story!!!