Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Once we’ve given birth and been told “it’s a girl!” or “it’s a boy!” (which, by the way, can sometimes be a lie) we’ve usually prepared a nursery for the baby to live in over the next couple of years while they are in a crib. For us, the nursery remained empty for the first few weeks while our babies slept in a bassinette in our bedroom making the middle of the night calming and feeding just a little easier. It was a nice time to have the baby so nearby and even allowed for marveling at this little life…even if was three in the morning. Once the initial homecoming haze lifted, off to the nursery. Momma needs her sleep.
With Harrison, we kept him in our room for a fairly long time. Just how long I haven’t a clue. He was our first child, it was seventeen years ago and a lot has happened since then. Suffice to say, it was longer than we did with George (name choice intended). Part of that was the first baby/second baby phenomenon and part of it was that George was, without competition, the easiest baby ever. This was in stark contrast to Harrison who, well, wasn’t quite so easy. (Note: he is now. How that little monster baby turned into the menschiest guy I know remains a mystery). It was much sooner in his life that George flew the coop and was off in his own room, happily singing, laughing and, on one particularly memorable afternoon, decorating the room in Desitin.
Once he had moved out and because we knew this was going to be our last child, we felt as though we had our bedroom back for good and could at least attempt to consider it a sanctuary of sorts.
Neither of my children were of the “climb into bed with us” variety. Group television watching was done in the family room and sick children stayed in their own beds. It wasn’t that our room was off limits, rather is just never became the cool place to see and be seen. Through all of the stresses (many), tantrums (mostly George’s but a few of my own) and tears (at some point everyone) I could always (eventually) shut and lock (okay, I don’t really have a lock, but God help the person who dares to come in when the door is shut) the door seeking (usually in vain) my sanity.
Across the hall, Jessie’s room is full on girl. I challenge anyone to display as much pink, purple, flowers and polka dots in one place. From ripping off the G E O R G E letters that had been adorning the door since birth (a scene Harrison caught on video) to covering the blue carpet with pink throw rugs, all signs of George are gone. But all the clothes and remnants of George, from boxer shorts to soccer shorts (never played the game for even a moment. Instead, there were dolls to be dressed, combed and re-dressed) are now, as the attached picture shows, in a heap next to my dresser. A heap which has immobilized me.
A part of me wants to go through and pass them along to younger boys in our life. Another part of me wants to load them into the trunk of my car and bring them to Goodwill. There is also the urge to pack them away somewhere in the house…”just in case”. But the most profound part of it (and I cannot take credit for this revelation) is that my child is back in my room. My ten year old girl, who not so long ago was my nine year old boy, is, in part, back in the comfort of my room. And I do wake up at three in the morning and look over at the pile with wonder. And confusion. And, frankly, fear. Here I have this pile of clothing (which, incidentally, has not been revisited or given a passing glance by Jessie once…not even for a broken in t-shirt or sentimental sweatshirt) which I have visions of being there for years to come.
I don’t think it is hurting anyone (the aesthetic of my room, perhaps, but no people have been harmed) yet it feels somehow unnatural. And while Jessie seems very much like Jessie (as opposed to George) I still find that pile disconcerting. Until such time as I am able to make an adult decision around the pile, I suspect it will stay right where it is. I am sure there will come a day when, without much fanfare, I somehow make it go away. That day is not today. And probably not tomorrow, either.