Two weekends ago, we tackled a project that to say I had been "putting off" would have been a HUGE understatement.
On one hand, I was excited to finally give son #2 a much needed space of his own. Sharing a room with his much loved, but very different (temperament & personality wise), brother was putting a little strain on their relationship - and a lot of stress on momma. So when son #1 signed on to the Marines, we told #2 he could move into #1's room. That was a year and a half ago...
Because on the other hand, making this transition required some major letting go. For 16 years this was favorite son #1's room. We watched him grow up in this room - changing the decor as he changed and matured: from Mickey Mouse to airplanes to a "world traveler" theme. It was his space and it reflected so much of who he was through all the tennis trophies, root beer bottles and stacks of favorite books.
And after he left, it was the one place I could go and feel close to him. When he was in boot camp, I would go to his room and sit on his bed and pray for him and write his daily letter. I would often sit in his chair to have my quiet time - and be encouraged that God had his hand on him. And yet, I could not get away from that fact that even though the room was still full of his "stuff" - it was no longer full of "him."
*sigh* I miss my son.
However, my biggest problem is worrying about how Chris will feel on the next rare occasion that he gets to come home. We live in a small house without a lot of wiggle room - no big family room, or guest room or even a small den with a pull out couch. Chris works hard serving his country in the USMC (Ooh-rah!) and when he comes home I want him to have a comfortable space to dump his stuff and relax and be refreshed. And instead, I worry that by packing up his stuff and redoing "his" room, he will come home and feel "displaced". I don't ever want him to feel like he is an outsider or that we have "moved on without him" - I want him to know that we love him and miss him and wish he was here with us.
And most importantly, I always want him to be able to walk in that front door and know that he is home.
And so it was with much hesitation and a few tears that I slowly began packing things up and Chris' room became Chris/Isaac's room. It still had a lot of Chris' stuff in it and it also had some of Isaac's things tucked in here and there. I had removed Chris' hand-made quilt from the bed and put an inexpensive comforter on it (no one gets to sleep with Chris' quilt but Chris - I had to draw a line somewhere) and Isaac and I picked out a couple of things to hang on the walls to go along with his "modern knight" theme. And that's the way it sat...for months.
Hence, the kind-of-before pictures
(you'll have to excuse the pics- this is a very small narrow space and taking good pictures is a challenge) :
And we had to figure out what to do with this: a very heavy 3 foot long sword. Isaac & I bought it out with out thinking "what do you do with a very heavy 3 foot long potentially very dangerous in the wrong hands kind of sword?" No, we just thought it was cool and so home it came...
Then Chris came home over New Year's. He sorted through a few things, threw a few things away and packed a few things to take back with him. And I knew it was time. So I took a big breath and Isaac and I picked a weekend to tackle the project, sweated over paint colors, bought a cool new bright orange lamp and got to work...
With a little guidance, Isaac picked out the colors for his room and I have to say he did a great job. I also have to say I was really worried at first because, in my head, bright green and light blue with a little "pop" of orange do NOT sound good together - but we were very relieved to find out that they do go together. And it also helped that we found the perfect comforter to pull it all together.
And here are the results (again, small room = not so good pics) :
We turned the bed around to make more floor space. This is such a small space so making this one change made a huge difference. In the back of this picture is one of my favorite things about the whole room now: the 8 foot long shelf we put all along the back wall. It pushed the bed out from the wall about 9 inches, making it easier for Isaac to tuck the bedding in when making the bed. And gave him a lot more room for his books (we never have enough room for books in this house - a good problem to have, I think.)
I think it turned out great. We still have some finishing touches to do(eventually). I'm looking for some kind of mural or wall art to put on the sloped ceilings (a large crest/sheild) but it looks like Isaac doesn't mind and he has settled right in (with little brother right next to him.) And, yes, as you can see, we found the perfect spot for that sword. It should stay out of trouble there (I hope.)
Oh, and one last very important picture...
Isn't he cute? That's my resident handy-man and, nope, you can't have him. I mean, seriously, he even works with a smile on his face - how often can you get that kind of service anymore?
In conclusion: Yes, emotionally, this was a hard project to do ... but it was worth it.
And I know, Chris will still come home and I'll fuss over him and his brother's will annoy him and his dad will beat him at Monopoly and I'll make him ham and lots of mashed potatoes and probably a chocolate pie or two...
And though things may look a different on the outside - home is still...home. And there will always be a couch ...or an extra bed ...or an air mattress ...to sleep on.
After all, once you're part of this family...you're stuck with us.
'Cuz that's the way we roll...
Chris - I hope you know how much we love you and we hope you can come home...soon!