When Buddy was 4 years old we saw Peter Pan at an outdoor theater. Peter Pan is a lovely tale but seeing it outdoors while sitting under the stars made it absolutely MAGICAL! Buddy still very fondly remembers it, as do I. All week I’ve been thinking of Peter Pan and of how Wendy was told it was time to move out of the nursery. She didn’t want to. She didn’t want to her childhood to end. After her adventure with Peter in Neverland though, she knew she was ready and that it was time to move out and to grow up.
When Bug was born, he was brought home to a crib in a nursery. In the corner of the nursery was a toddler bed for Buddy. At that age, sharing a room did not mean much but with every home we moved to the boys always agreed that they wanted to continue on as roommates. When we moved to Texas, Bug was just the right age to move out of his crib and so we got the boys bunk beds.
Every night Man and I tuck the boys into their beds and we each take turns saying prayers and blessings. Then, in the glow of their light saber night light, Buddy and Bug have brotherly conversations. I love to listen in! I hear them share their fears and their triumphs. They discuss their hopes and plans for the future, consulting one another and considering various possibilities. There is talk of God and various philosophies, they tell stories and jokes, and…they make a lot of gross noises and laugh a lot.
In May, Buddy turned 11 and we began talking about moving him into his own room. Ever the sentimental man; I assumed Buddy would be against the idea, possibly even offended but instead he was delighted! We gave him the choice of the guest room in the basement or of the office next door to his old room.
“But, Brother, than we will never talk!” Bug feared.
“Of course we will,” Buddy assured him. “I tell you what; I’ll choose the office so that we’ll be right next door to each other. We could even pass notes down the hall.”
No move was made as I was trying to figure out other possibilities. We would hate to lose our office…. I don’t want Buddy to be on the computer all of the time and we would often be in his space to work, research, play computer games, and socialize. Every now and then Buddy would tell me how much he was looking forward to getting his own room. He really was ready for it!
This past week he went to Outdoor Lab. This is a fabulous program here in CO where the 6th graders go to camp for a week and learn about the flora and fauna in our area and about survival skills. There are no phones, video games, television or computers at camp. I’ve been away from Buddy and Bug many times but never have they been with people I didn’t know or not have a means to communicate with me. I was both, excited for Buddy’s adventure but sad as well. I was going to hate not being able to check in on him and hear how his time was going. I was going to miss him. But I was thrilled for him to have the time with his friends and to get to learn new things and experience new things and to practice being independent in a safe environment. I knew this was going to be a wonderful time for him!
We received the list of things to pack and I had him pack himself so that he would know what he had. It took great restraint for me to not go through his bag and make sure he got everything on the list. Was it all folded nice? Did he have enough underwear? He assured me that he did. Have enough underwear. We never really talked about the folded clothes. Permission slips were signed, bags were packed and Buddy was ready.
“Mom, I would like to move into my own room when I get back from camp,” Buddy informed me a few days before he was to leave.
“Well, OK. Make me a list of things that you hope to have in your new room and I’ll do my best to make it happen.”
Buddy’s list was simple, per his usual:
– dresser for his clothes.
– CD player for listening to music at bed time.
– bulletin board
– reading lamp
– a dog blanket for Sasha
“I’m her Boy and I’d like her to sleep with me once I get my own bed,” Buddy explained.
“I believe we can make this list happen,” I informed. “When you come home, you’ll have a new room. You need to break the news to Bug.”
The bedtime talk that night was mostly of Bug campaigning for Brother to change his mind about getting his own room and Buddy reassuring Bug that the change would have no effect on their relationship. I wondered how Bug was going to sleep with Buddy away at camp. I’m sure they’ve had nights apart though I can’t think of when…
Bug came bounding up the stairs after school on Monday.
“Good Morning!” he greeted cheerfully and then he slightly deflated a little and said, “Oh yeah…Buddy’s not home.”
He went to karate alone. I tucked him in bed that night, alone. He slept fine! Not a single tear or bad dream!
All week I’ve made Buddy’s new room my priority. I could tell it was important to him and, consequently, it became important to me. Most everything on the list was easily found and purchased but then came the dresser. I have no idea why this became so difficult but it was. Every furniture store I went to had loads to choose from but the sturdy and well built dressers were $400 and upwards and the more reasonably priced dressers were made of particle board and were flimsy. The drawers would pull out all wobbly and some of them didn’t even fit in their place well. Apparently, the poor little children in China were not taught the measure twice, cut once rule. Even the pricey chests were still mostly made of particle board.
“Can I help you?” asked a salesman.
I told him what I was looking for and voiced my frustration with finding quality for a reasonable price.
“Really, they are all particle board,” he informed me. “Solid wood furniture cost in near a 1000.”
“I just don’t feel good spending that much on an 11 year old.”
“Well, he’ll probably take it when he moves out. Children furniture is just not made to last long because well, it’s like bunk beds…. They SAY they want them but after 6 months that don’t like it anymore.”
“My son has been on the top bunk for 6 years.”
As my choices narrowed and the days disappeared, my anxiety rose. I’d wake up nauseas and I didn’t want to do anything but find that dang dresser! There had to be a well constructed, well priced chest of drawers some where! I refused to spend a lot of money on an 11 year old boys room but I also was not OK with him having a furniture piece that he was going to have to struggle with or that could easily break.
Meanwhile, Bug went about his week with hardly a bump. Every now and then he would wonder allowed about how Buddy was doing and WHAT he was doing. We would speculate together.
Thursday I had plans to find a dresser and to get the room all put together before Buddy came home at noon on Friday but….snow happened. Argh! My nemesis! I walked Bug to the bus stop to feel the condition of the roads. Slick. I saw Caren at the bus stop who reported a nerve racking carpool experience. Soon after, we heard of another friend who had an accident due to the ice. Reports of traffic jams and accidents were all over Facebook. It just was not going to be wise to venture out to go dresser shopping.
Half way through the day, Robby called. She had suggested some thrift shops in town that might would have a dresser for Buddy. I told her I was too afraid to drive on the ice. I had kicked a big chunk of ice off of our road. But Robby was not afraid. She’s a brave, experienced Mountain Woman.
“I’ll pick you up. We’ll have lunch and we’ll shop,” she offered.
I ask you People, what kind of friends do I have who will chauffer me around just to help me meet my goal of completing my sons room?! I have the best, I tell you!
Robby and I had an…interesting lunch and then found some very possible options for Buddy. One such dresser was at a consignment store. The prices on the furniture go down over time. This particular dresser was going to be less than $200 on Monday. We agreed that it would be a great fit and it was a decent price. I would wait until Monday.
Boo. I really wanted to have Buddy’s clothes all switched over and then I could get Bug’s room better organized…
There was still one thrift shop that Robby and I had not had time to check out. It would open at 10 the next day. I could check it out and then pick up Buddy. In the mean time I decided to get the rest of the room set up. I made his bed up with his new sheets and comforter, Sasha’s blanket was draped at the foot. At the head of his bed was his new reading lamp, his Bible, alarm clock, and his CD player.
Once we get a dresser we can move the CD player on top of it. I don’t want that playing near his head.
I got cork tiles for his bulletin board and I arranged them on the wall next to his bed. It was not much but he had not asked for anything grand. Just his own space. As I put the last touches up Bug came home from school.
“Good Morning!” he sang as he threw his back pack into his room. He joined me in the office/Buddy’s room.
“WHAT?! You’re already making Brother a new room?! BWAAAAAAH!” he wailed.
“Well, yes Bug! That’s what the plan was! Remember?” I shouted over his crying.
I sat on Buddy’s bed and pulled Bug to me. He cried into my shoulder while I promised him this would be fine and it wasn’t like Brother was moving out of the house.
“He’ll only be about 10 feet away,” I reminded him.
Bug finally calmed down and set to work on his homework. Every now and then the crying would start again.
“We’ll never talk anymore!!!”
“Of course you will.”
Sissy texted: “Tell him how we used to have Slumber Parties together.”
“Aunt Dawn and I never shared a room but often, on the weekends, we would have sleep overs. We would stay up all night talking with flashlights under the blankets. You and Buddy can do that too,” I told him.
And then a few minutes later there would be crying again.
Then he would find a silver lining.
“Now when I try to scare Brother, he won’t hear me climbing up the ladder to his bunk!”
And then tears.
And then another silver lining.
“Have you ever seen such drama?” I asked Man.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked with an accusing look in his eye.
“Don’t blame me. I keep it on the stage!”
This morning I gave the dresser shopping one more shot. If nothing was found I’d stick to the plan of buying the other one on Monday. I went to the Christian Outreach thrift shop in our area. Quite quickly I found a dresser that was more roomy than the Monday Dresser and was about $40 less! I told the clerk that I’d take it.
“Wonderful piece,” she raved. “And at such a great price.”
“It is!” I agreed.
“And with today’s sale your total comes to $77,” she said cheerfully.
“What was that? $77?!”
“Yes, ma’am! There’s another piece that goes with it. Would you like it too?”
I did not have the need or the space for the other piece and so they loaded up Buddy’s new dresser and I pulled away. I was ecstatic! The piece was perfect and was just the price I was looking for! I pulled over and text Robby and Man the news and then I headed to the school to pick up My Boy.
At the school, parents and kids were reuniting. I scanned the crowd for Buddy. As I turned I was suddenly tackled! A head in a knit hat slammed into my mouth, bruising my upper lip.
“OH! Sorry Mom! I thought I’d slam into your chest not your face!” Buddy said.
“You’re taller than that!” I reminded him. He has a strict “no kissing in public” rule and so we used our secret code which is essentially a push to the side of the head and maybe a noogie and then we ran off to the car. He looked a little taller and there was a change in him that I can’t quite place. It’s a good thing. A change that comes from travel and adventure. We went to lunch together and he showed me his pictures and filled me in on the trip.
“Best and Worst,” I said.
“Best? Hm….Best was today when I knew I was going to get to come home and to a new room!”
“Worst…was that we had to take showers. And it’s not because I didn’t want to get clean but because there were no changing stalls and we all just showered together.”
“Ah…yeah. That’s pretty typical for guys. You’ll see that from here on out really.”
“I mean, we are told our whole lives to keep those parts private and then we all get thrown into a situation like that. It makes no sense!”
We laughed at the silliness of it all and discussed the seriousness of it all as well.
“Buddy, I’m just dying to kiss your face,” I confessed once we were back in the car. He checked our surroundings and found it to be all clear. I leaned in and kissed his head and cheeks and he landed one on my cheek as well.
When Buddy got home Sasha went nuts for him! She pulled the gloves right off his hands and he pet her all over. Drake got some loving too but Sasha would get jealous and Buddy would shower her with more affection. Buddy took his things up stairs and went straight to his new room.
“It has….everything!” he gasped as he dropped his bags on the floor. “It has everything on my list! Look Sasha, this is your blanket for when you sleep with me!” He hugged me and he thanked me for his room. Then he went to his old room, climbed the ladder to the top bunk and started to take down all of the things he had tacked to the wall near his bed and transferred them to the bulletin board in his room.
I know this is how life goes. We all grow and age and, Lord willing, mature. This is my job as a mother. I’m to help him to grow and to become capable and independent. It’s funny how so many of life’s changes are both happy and sad. Chapters close and that’s sad but a new one begins and that’s exciting. One day I’m bringing my baby home from the hospital and the next; a page turns and The Boy is moving out of the nursery and taking his first steps away from Neverland and toward becoming a man and entering adulthood.