A letter to my son about your new bed.
Last night, while you spent the night with your grandparents, your father and I worked on a project. You cuddled with Grandma and Grandpa on their couch, as you love to do, watching movies and noshing on popcorn. Meanwhile, Daddy and I wrecked your room.
When you arrive home, you will find a deep hole your bedroom door. A hole that pierced deep to its hollow core.
You will be dismayed to see your furniture haphazardly shoved to different areas of the room. The electronics you’d carefully stowed underneath your bed are piled on a chair in the middle of the room. Your beloved stuffed animals are cowering in a corner atop an assortment of plastic light sabers and sports equipment and other toys you’ve surely outgrown.
Believe me, this is not the surprise for you we had intended.
Late into the night, we paged through Ikea instructions, struggling with screws that didn’t want to fit, assembling (incorrectly), then dismantling, then reassembling (incorrectly), then dismantling, then finally correctly assembling your new loft bed. We watched your old bed rail topple, then crash through your bedroom door. All this was to build you a bed so high that you’ll easily be able to reach up and touch the ceiling.
I’d hoped to have time to string Christmas lights to make a cozy seating area beneath the loft bed for you, to put your desk in order, straighten your books, try a furniture arrangement to make your room feel spacious.
But in the late hours, when we finally hoisted your mattress to its new elevation, I counted myself lucky that Daddy and I had remained in good humor throughout the tedious assembly. It was time for us to stop.
“We’ll let him help decide how to arrange,” I said. It seemed like a good idea.
So many concerns about this new bed swirl through my mind. I hope you’ll not get hit by the ceiling fan. I hope you don’t fall and break an ankle, climbing up high in the dark. I hope I can figure out a way to change the bedding — high above my head.
But the reasons we did still stand. I hope you love having the extra floor space. I hope your tiny room feels a tiny bit bigger. I hope it fits your life as you grow older, bigger, mature.
My fingertips ache from holding screws in place, but they’ll feel better soon. It was time to paint your door anyway — a little patchwork never hurt anyone. The cat loves the new perch — maybe she’ll finally sleep with you, as you’ve wished she would.
We love you, dear boy. And unfortunately, our effort to show you this left your bedroom in a shambles. You’ll have to participate in the labor of love; we apparently can’t do all of this one for you. At least, not in one evening.
That’s how life is. If you didn’t know it already, you will now. Love is a messy business, and while sometimes we can just sit back and be on the receiving end, we get much more out of it if we participate. And someday, you’ll do something with the best of intentions, and you’ll positively wreck something in someone’s life.
But if we all participate, we get there. Your room will be a refreshed haven. But you’d better help. We can’t do it alone.
Overland Park mom and freelancer Emily Parnell writes weekly.