ode to a shirt

I bought it at Old Navy when FireCracker was less than a month old.

It has served my girls well…it has also been worn for far too many days in children’s hospitals.

A month in traction for a broken femur.

A cleft lip repair.

A cleft palate repair.

But then there were all the other beautiful days it was worn.


First day home from China.


Playing….lots and lots of days playing.

I’m not one to save a ton of stuff, but this is one of those childhood items that I couldn’t just pack away. I decided it needed a prominent place of honor in their room..at least for a little while. Though the shirt reminds me of a lot of hospital stays, it reminds me of so many sweet moments with my girls. Moments that were part of the pain of being in a hospital – moments I will treasure for a lifetime. It will be one of those items that if I get to grow old, I think I’ll look back on it and my memory will be flooded with the joys of the toddler years with my girls.

Funny how a worn out 2T shirt can be become priceless. My little wonder women – beautiful wonders that I just adore.

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  • dee - I love how you have hung it up for the girls.I would have to put it in a frame with some other bits and a few photos of them wearing it like a giant shadow box to treasure forever that way it wont get lost or damaged.I have done this with a dress of my daughters I put a pair of shoes a little toy and a necklace and bangle she always wore.It is 30 years old now and one of my most precious possesions. Also where did you get that awesome yellow blanket (throw) from I love it-love dee x

  • gale - Sniff. Perfect!!!!!

  • karen - SUPER!!!!!

  • amber - I think we’ve all grown to love that shirt on your girls almost just as much as you! Also, how does time go so fast? It feels like all that happened just a short while ago, but those pictures of Firecracker prove me wrong! Thanks for sharing those precious girls…they are pretty remarkable:). And totally adorable.

  • AshleyAnn - Dee – that is my eventual plan….but it takes me months to get any projects done, so for now it is just hanging on the wall!

  • Kassondra Taylor - Why am I crying over a silly T-shirt?!

  • Molly - such a sweet story about a couple very sweet girls and a way cool t shirt. i get all sentimental like that….so this is right up my alley. love that you are displaying it.

  • Michelle Eileen - I. Love. This. Post.

  • Izzy - This is a lovely post! What a wonderful way to keep all the memories with that t-shirt, it looks great with the photo bunting! Such a cute photo at the end!

  • Jenni - That is the most precious display and proper tribute to an item I have ever seen:). I adore that. I have tubs of clothes I can’t get rid of for that very reason. Something amazing happened in every last piece:)

  • Kristin S - Yes!

    Funny to look back at those baby FC pics and see her personality so strong then too. That beautiful cowlick too!

    When I see this t-shirt, I think of your family. For sure a keeper.

    Totally random, but I forgot about FC’s leg injury. Not sure how I could forget.

  • Kristin - Goodness, Ashley! I remember reading every post while you were in the hospital with FC, as if I was right there going through it with you & can’t believe she was that little! Truly time does fly.

  • Monica - Beautiful memories! Your girls are adorable!

  • Samae - Cutest post about a shirt EVER.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I LOVE this! I so remember the pics of Firecracker in that shirt. Ugh – happy tears.

  • Kara M - I love it when God gives us a small treasure to remind us of how He has carried us through some hard days (and good)! I am wearing a necklace today with the Chinese symbol for hope. It always reminds me of some hard days in China that God taught me to place my hope in Him!!

  • Cynthia Filiberto - Got my morning coffee and cry in. I love that you have hung the shirt with photos of the girls rocking it! I have held onto a few items like that myself that remind me of the kids being smaller.

  • Laci - I love that I just got all pooly over a shirt. πŸ™‚

  • Carrie - Great way to display it! Have you thought about putting it into a quilt?? Although it would be hard for them to share one quilt, I have seen some ideas on pinterest where people use loved t-shirts as the front for a quilt. I thought since you have some quilters in the family, it might be an option. Sweet pictures! I love seeing the ones of the sisters, since I have two little girls of my own. Thanks for sharing!

  • mindy - love!! i the person that gets attached to everything & so with my son’s clothing i am saving the the best of the best & eventually will make a quilt with them. love how you displayed the shirt with the photos. what a great memory your girls will have with this when they get older πŸ™‚

  • Shari - My daughter was born weighing only 2 lbs, 13 oz. We had so few clothes that fit her, but I fell in love with one preemie sized sleeper she had that at first was too big, but that she eventually outgrew. I SO regret giving away that sleeper; I wish I would have kept it and put it in a shadow box or done something with it to remember how small she was and the struggles she overcame; I was too quick to dismiss my emotions over a “just a silly piece of clothing”. Good for you! What a sweet mom your girls have.

  • Mrs. kinne - This is beautiful! You have such beautiful girls– with big personalities. πŸ™‚

  • Gwen, The Makerista - Such a beautiful story! So many strong memories attached to a shirt. Funny how material things can have such strong pulls on our heartstrings. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jen Mac - Love love love! Just cleaned out my oldest’s closet as she grew so much over the summer she had nothing to wear for back to school. I had to put a few outfits aside as I wasn’t quite done walking down memory lane.

  • Emily - Precious. Just made me teary seeing those pictures of Firecracker in the hospital.
    Awesome to hold on to… I know I would have a hard time with that too πŸ™‚
    You are a blessed woman!

  • jules - Cute! I saw recently that someone framed old swimming suits that their children wore when they were little and hung them on the wall. You could do that with this shirt? or save for a “college quilt” when you’re done enjoying it now. Just a thought. So very precious, those strong girls!

  • Amy W - Oh I just love this. What a great way to remember the good and the not so good all together. Maybe someday one of your granddaughters will wear this shirt…. wouldn’t that be something.

  • Darcie - I think you should frame that one. πŸ™‚ Everyone needs a little Wonder Woman in their life.

  • Lisa M. - What a great idea. Love it! So, so special.

  • Jennifer@Godstellations.com - A very special piece of cloth to hold so many memories! Sweet post.

  • kelli - how fast time flows

  • sarah j - it’s so fun to see these pictures of baby firecracker–the sass and spitfire was evident from the very beginning!

  • Emily - I am a sentimental sap πŸ˜‰ I’ve got a tub of clothes that my boys have both worn that will be turned into a quilt when my youngest is finished with them. Coming home outfits and favorite shirts and things like that. I love the way you’ve displayed this shirt. It’s truly deserving a place of honor.

  • Mareen [eeny] - that’s amazing how much memories are attached to that one little shirt. such a great way to display some of these.

  • Kirsten | Wild Oak Stream - It reminds me of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants…

    And that last photo with your girls raising their arms in the air, Firecracker with her fists powerfully closed tight, and Little One with her hands open… just speaks so much of their personalities. Adore!

  • Carol Van Boening - Might just be my favorite post from you. Made me tear up in the middle of the day. Your children are so blessed to have such awesome parents. Love the girls room, especially the t-shirt on the wall! How precious!!

  • Ronna Hocevar - The first thing I thought of is that shirt needs to be framed.
    A pretty shadowbox and years of memories to cherish.

  • Dawn - They did a beautiful job on your daughter’s cleft lip repair. I had a cleft palate and had surgery when I was two. Fortunately I did not have a cleft lip too and only needed the one surgery. Beautiful girls and what a lovely story.

  • kelleyn - Definately priceless and darling!

  • Jeannette - Love it! I sure miss seeing you guys!

  • Eva - That shirt is pretty awesome. And so are the girls that wear it.

  • AshleyAnn - Jeanette – I miss you so much too!!!

  • Vanessa - That is the perfect homage. I always smiled seeing that shirt on your girls. My, how they’ve grown!

  • Bernie - My daughter had Wonder Woman Underoos (do they still make them?)…two pieces that she wore from the time she was potty trained (about 2?) until she was 4+. At that point, the top wouldnt even cover her belly anymore! I sure hope I still have them packed away in case she has a “Wonder Woman” of her own. (she’s now 33!)

  • Kimberlee Jost - Gosh, I love this.

  • Kathryn C - Just gorgeous! Your girls are beautiful. Love memory making. We have a shirt that has the No. 36 on it – the first letter my eldest ever said (weird, I know – now her favorite number). Any time you asked her how many (of anything) she wanted it was always 36! Weird that I turned 36 during the first year of her life!! Coincidence πŸ™‚ Love your blog – it always brings a smile to my face, and things to ponder.

  • Alex - When I first started reading your blog, Firecracker was wearing that shirt all the time and I thought “wow, that girl IS Wonder Woman!” So cute that Little One followed in her footsteps. Beautiful display!

  • Allison - Love that shirt! And I love the journey it has been on! My daughter is stuck on this pink dress. I should document it for her to look back at one day. And I have to ask, where did you get the Super Girl t-shirt? It’s too cute!

  • meredith - Don’t know if you remember, but we were together when we first laid eyes on that little shirt! We couldn’t have imagined then ALL the precious memories it would one day hold! Such a sweet, fitting keepsake for you and your girls! Wonder-women, for sure! πŸ™‚

  • Zulejka - Lovely. How did Firecracker broke her femur? It sounds so horrible! Poor little girl (well, I know she’s brave and it’s all long forgotten, but still…).

    Also, your photos and stories make me want to have more kids (I have a 15 month old girl and I sometimes think I couldn’t manage one more kid…).

  • Hannah O - Love this post! The same day you posted this I got an email from my sisters mother in law (Maria in this video) asking me to spread the word on a fundraising campaign they are doing! They made an iPad app to help connect families that aren’t able to be together all the time, and are now raising money to purchase iPads for Ronald McDonald houses for families to use during inpatient/outpatient stays… Check it out, I thought of your story when I got it!


  • Trysha - I have an overflowing drawer full of shirts I couldn’t let go. Ideally, they’ll be a t-shirt quilt one day. One day. Not today. lol

  • Amy @Fig Milkshakes - Oh man, I teared up when I saw this – and then I got embarassed about it.

    I mean, it’s just a shirt, right?! Right?!? Man, those “little things” really aren’t so little after all, are they?

  • Renee - that is a brilliant idea!! πŸ™‚