Every so often I find myself alone in the kids’ room. The wind picks up and blows around the large, gray curtains, gracing my weary face, and I stand up from my task of tidying and look around me.
An alarm clock sits ticking beside the fishbowl, its reflection distorted in the glass. Impromptu artwork is pasted on the window, made from green construction paper that has faded heavily in the sun. A blown-up photograph of the three boys, on the day that Brave was born, hangs cock-eyed in its frame above the futon in the corner. The three-sleeper bunk bed stands empty, haphazardly made up, with stickers on it, and black-and-white copies of the face of CHR1ST, taped above their pillows, to ward off night fears when the city sounds start whistling in the dark.
Yesterday it occurred to me that one cannot design a child's bedroom. It designs itself, over the years, playing off of the needs of the child, of the things they like to look at, and the way they live their little lives. In the same way, one cannot prepare to parent their children. We learn as we go. If someone had plopped me into one of my present days say, 8 years ago, I would have died before lunchtime. My life as their mom has evolved, like their bedroom; and like their bedroom, I need to stop every now and then and admire it, faded and haphazard as it may be.