I have never been one to find myself sentimental about an old piece of furniture or even the house I grew up in. I’m just not one of those people to connect emotions with material things. Apparently raising kids changes that. Suddenly sentimentality arises on a daily basis and regarding the most seemingly trivial and absurd things. The green race car romper he wore for a month before outgrowing it, the tiny pair socks that look like Convers’ and that one worn out copy of Hop On Pop he chewed through. The move we’re preparing for now will be my 19th in the last 17 years and as we pack up this house I’m finding my newly unearthed talent for sentimentality popping up around every corner, in every cupboard and every drawer. I will miss this house because this is the house we started our family in. This is the house I created my little nest in. I will miss this room especially, his nursery, because in this room I found my soul and my true meaning.
When we decided to become foster parents I chose to use the time between certification and getting the call as my nesting period. We even had a baby shower. I had already stopped working because we had to be at the ready for a call at any time of day or night so I had all the time in the world to plan, prep and stare at the phone. I believe one time my sister in law called and I answered it, “Are you my baby? Cause if you’re not my baby please just text me.” I filled this time by diving head first into creating my nest. This would be my baby haven of calm and serenity. Since we didn’t know which baby would be joining us, the nursery needed to be gender-neutral. We decided on a “Friendly Forest Animal” theme which included greens and browns and was adorned with forest animals who were, obviously, friendly. I painted the walls a light sage green as that was the most calming color I could find. I accented the door frames in an off white, took the doors off the closet and painted the inside a comforting taupe. I decorated the walls with decals of tall trees, birds, and deer and created some other original artwork of my own. I built the dresser, refinished and painted a chest of drawers to match the color scheme and bought the most comfortable white shag rug I could afford. The green bedding in the crib matched the diaper holder which matched the laundry bin and they all matched the little lamp held up by a happy smiling little beaver. The bookshelf was lined with board books waiting to be read. This room was truly a labor of love. I sat on the floor of the nursery with the soft white shag carpet under me and I read Winnie The Pooh to my dog, the cat who lay on the dresser basking in the sun and the sweet little fawn wall decal. Some days I rocked in the glider wondering how many nights I’d be sleeping in it.
In the last two and half years, we’ve all done a lot of crying, laughing, learning and growing in this room. This is where we learned that his changing table was the “Happiest Place On Earth” because whenever he had lost his tiny baby mind putting him on it somehow calmed and reset him. This is where I rocked him to sleep while reading Winnie The Pooh at every nap time and Little Owl at every bedtime. This is where we did hard core CIO sleep training and learned he could self-soothe and so could we. In this room, I finally learned that I was capable of being patient with another human being and where my husband I learned that running our business together was all just prep for this huge final exam. This is where I sat a week after bringing him home crying and rocking him fiercely when his BioParents flaked on their first visit because I realized I had already fallen in love with him. This is where I learned that poop can somehow be adorable, that his angry infant faces can be hilarious and that I can in fact sleep sitting up. In this room, from the assortment of tiny button down dress shirts he never wore, I picked out the clothes he’d wear to court the day we adopted him.
I have rearranged the furniture and swapped out toys as he’s grown both in size and development. The dresser moved to the closet and was replaced with a train table. The comfy white shag rug was replaced with a brightly colored hop-scotch. The crib has recently been converted to a toddler bed and the only signs of infancy that still reside are the changing table and diapers. My son is clearly no longer a baby. I’ll slowly start peeling the forest themed decals off the walls while I brainstorm how to decorate his new “big boy” room. I will miss this room. I’ll miss the deer on the walls the owl on the diaper holder and the beaver on the lamp. I will miss the memories of filling this room with the love, laughter, and tears from each one of us. Most of all the hope and the proof that anything in life you try hard enough for can happen.