Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Janey, age 11, told me this afternoon that her childhood dream was coming true. We laughed because the other day I told her gleefully that my childhood dream had finally come true. It only took 29 years, but I finally got my very own pair of Dorothy Hamill ice skates. White, never been used, they even have the blade guards on them, and I only paid $7.99 for them at Goodwill. I love it when that happens. Every Christmas, from the time I was about 8 years old, that was all I wanted to show up under the tree. White ice skates, just like Dorothy Hamill. We skated at the outdoor rink in our town this weekend and I couldn't stop smiling.
Janey didn't have to wait quite as long. She finally has her own room. It's been an exhausting day of disassembling furniture, reassembling furniture, unpacking bookshelves, repacking bookshelves, sorting through books and clothes and crap. It's been fun and not so fun and I'm pretty sure the chaos of moving will all be over tomorrow, but Janey finally has her own room.
I've been resisting this for months. We live in a very small house, and finding a private space for everyone is a huge challenge. Janey and her younger brother Charley have shared the big bedroom for almost a year. Over the past few months Janey has moved into a new developmental stage and her pesky brother can't do anything right. I had the smaller bedroom to myself and justified that because I work from home and need space for my desk. I couldn't imagine sharing my room. It would never work. Macy has the closet under the stairs and loves it. No chance she'd be willing to give that up. For a long time I held Janey off. I told her that converting the attic into a bedroom was too big a project for me right now, so she was just going to have to deal with sharing for a while longer.
The other night, it hit me. I had this huge shift. Janey has been so patient with her brother. She is discovering a new found independence and spends hours and hours alone reading, listening to music, writing letters and daydreaming, only to be interrupted by a busy, noisy 6 year old constantly. As the oldest of four, I remember all too well what it was like to crave the quiet of my very own room. I didn't get mine until the summer before I turned 15. As I reflected on Janey's needs and got clear about my own, I realized that Charley and I could easily share a room. He takes up very little space and ends up in bed with me most nights anyway. It was a perfect solution.
Even though I'm exhausted, and there is still so much to put away, it feels so good to be able to give Janey what she needs right now. I think this new arrangement is really going to work. Knowing us, it will all shake up and change in 6 months anyway. Raising kids and unschooling have taught me to stretch my ideas of what will work. Once again I've had the humbling experience of realizing that my kids really do know what they need most of the time. All I have to do is pay attention.