I mentioned this here, but, when I was a kid I used to visit relatives in Cincinnati for a week or two in the summers. I loved visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousins, and my mom likely loved just a teensy bit of time absent of my incessant talking. I talk a lot. Anyway…one year when I returned home from my trip to Ohio I found my bedroom completely transformed. New wallpaper, new bedding, and a brand new look to my bedroom. As an only child, I spent a ton of time in my bedroom. Making believe. Talking to myself. Smooching my poster of Michael Jackson (that is…when not smooching the corner stop sign). Pretending to be a talk show host/news anchor/judge/lawyer/soap star/etc. I read books in there, wrote stories, hosted sleepovers, played dress-up, and more. It was my very own little haven. When I got home and my little haven had been transformed into an even more beautiful haven with decor that I loved loved loved, it was one of the best moments of my childhood. Partly because it was so completely unexpected, partly because it was so beautiful and it was my space, and partly because it made me feel so loved…because it had been done and because it had been done in a way that my mom knew I would love. It was magical.
When we moved into this house we did so on a weekend we didn’t have the little girls. We painted their bedrooms light pink and light lavendar, respectively, and put up wall decals of flowers and butterflies. One room is bigger than the other, and in it we put a complete bedroom set passed down from my little brother. The other, a much smaller room, we filled with brand new beautiful IKEA furniture. When the little girls got home they were so excited for their new rooms. That was three years ago.
This past spring I started to get antsy about doing something to the little girls’ bedrooms. Our littlest little girl has the smaller room. We’ve rearranged the furniture several times but it still ends up feeling small and cramped. With not enough space it quickly turns into a big fat mess. She also is a bit of a hoarder in that she wants to keep everything. Packaging, broken jewelry, old lanyards that no longer hold whatever was originally attached. For the past year or more her room has looked like a Bravo reality show waiting to happen.
Our oldest little girl plays school every chance she gets. Thus, her walls are covered with pages she’s taped up (wince), pen marks from writing on taped up pages (double wince), and walls that have to be washed down regularly because she spends so much time standing by the wall as she addresses her class (of stuffed animals and dolls).
A couple of months ago I started plotting. I’d say things in passing like “if you were going to change the color of your walls…what color would you choose?” I could see their eyes light up and their faces fill with hope as they excitedly exclaimed “HOT PINK” and “GREEN” simultaneously. During a trip to Home Depot, the little girls and I detoured over to the paint department while my husband dealt with whatever we were actually there for, and we found the exact colors they’d choose if given the chance. On trips to Target, or while online, I’d happen upon bedding and ask the little girls what they liked and what they might hope to do next time we get new bedding. They’d scrutinize the shelves or the online pictures and “oooh and awww” while pointing at patterns that they particularly loved. And as the months have passed they’ve asked when we might consider working on their bedrooms and we’d say “I’m not sure” or “hopefully sometime soon” or “maybe when the bathroom is done.” Their little faces would register guarded hope…they knew it was coming…but they had no idea when.
Because we split custody 50/50 we rarely have more than four days without our little girls (thank goodness!). Any projects with which we want to surprise them have to happen fast and furious. This summer, however, due to vacations and schedules we have a couple stretches of time without the little girls that are longer than normal. This, my friends, is one of those times.
We’ve had a week and a half with no little girls. Under normal circumstances this would make me really sad…but this time we’ve been working on a secret mission. To transform the little girls’ bedrooms. Sidenote…all weekend I’ve been singing “Informer” by Snow but replacing the words with “transformer, you know transforming the girls’ rooms while they’re gone, a licky boom boom down.” Paint fumes get to you after awhile.
With the help of my mother-in-law, we painted the girls’ rooms. Bright does not begin to describe these colors. They are so bright that at dusk the white ceilings take-on a pink and green glow. My husband and his dad built a loft in our littlest little girl’s room giving her double the space. My mom and I tracked down the bedding they’ve been eyeing for months, as well as some additional furniture for the little room that previously was too small to hold any.
This weekend I made them custom (I am the opposite of crafty so I use the word “custom” loosely) switch plate covers, we adorned their walls with homemade art, changed out drawer pulls for new ones that match, and we’ve made the rooms look completely put together and totally specific to their individual personalities.
I’m so excited for them to come home tomorrow night and see their new rooms. Their own little havens. I’m so excited I don’t even know what to do with myself. I was just telling my husband that, at the end of the day, I just hope they feel so loved all the time. And I hope this bedroom project makes them feel just that. So incredibly loved. If we can achieve that? It would be incredible.
TODAY: What if projects that aren’t huge in scope can do a bang-up job of showing the little girls how much we love them? What if making a little magic for our little girls also makes our lives a bit more magical?