I remember before our first child was born, I spent hours upon hours imagining, planning and decorating his nursery to welcome him home. Craig and I settled on a stars and moon theme for the room. I started purchasing everything with constellations I could find.
Of course this was early in our marriage when we were dirt poor, living off of the humblest of salaries while we finished graduate school. Let’s just say we ate a lot of ramen.
So I did what every poor, non-crafty person does — I found crafty friends to help. One friend helped me make the bedding for the crib out of dark blue fabric with metallic gold stars on it. Another friend helped me refurbish a hand-me-down chest of drawers so we could paint it like a dark, cloudy sky and then stencil gold stars on it. Another friend helped me make curtains to match the crib bedding.
I then went in search of quotes that referenced the stars and sky and created wall hangings.
Why did we spend months in advance of our baby’s birth painstakingly decorating his nursery? Because we wanted this little bundle of joy to know from the moment he opened his eyes each morning that he was loved, safe and home.
Last weekend, however, when it was time to pack up that “baby’s” room for college, we were done in a matter of hours.
How did that happen?
We went from Lego pieces strewn across the floor, a life-size Han Solo figure and a Yoda talking doll (sorry, action figure) to nothing more than a teenager’s clothes, books, musical instruments, laptop and a cellphone.
There are no longer any signs of Lego pieces anywhere in his room. Han Solo, while still cool, is nowhere to be found. Yoda was out of order when a certain parent took a hammer to him after he shorted out and wouldn’t stop saying “Tired, you are” at 3 a.m. (I was exhausted.)
As far as I could see, only one thing remained in his room that had roots in his childhood: the fleece blanket. I received this full-size blanket for Christmas one year in college, and for some reason, Natty adopted it at a very young age. As I stand at the door of his almost empty room, I can see it among the blankets on his bed.
Just the other day he asked me, “Do you mind if I take the fleece blanket up to school with me?”
Of course I smiled and said, “No, I don’t mind at all,” as my eyes filled up with tears.
As we headed up last weekend to take him to school, I realized that I may not be able to decorate his room like I did when he was about to be born. Yet our goal for him hasn’t changed: We want this young man to know from the moment he opens his eyes each morning that he is loved, safe and home.
I’m hoping that everything we’ve taught him over the last 18 years has communicated this message clearly. But just in case, it’s good to know the fleece blanket will stand in to convey the same message for us.
Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.