Paradise and Parenting

The Great Unveiling

So, after 7 years, my children are sleeping in separate rooms.  This is a very big deal for our family, because they have always wanted to share.   I admit that I have happily gone along with it.  I mean, c’mon, the reason why I went through the whirlwind adventure of having babies 20 months apart was because of my unwavering vision of siblings as best friends and happy playmates. I’ve had to alter the vision a bit to include hair-pulling and wild, largely unsubstantiated accusations, but the overall truth is that they genuinely are best of friends.  I loved that they didn’t want to sleep separately, that when they were together the horrors of the open closet at night weren’t quite so terrifying.
However, this summer my 7 and 8-year-old decided it was time and my husband, triumphant, took them to the paint store to pick out chips.  I conceded when it was promised to me that I would regain the majority of the living room territory and say goodbye to the Lego and Paper Mache Chic that had been forced upon me as décor.  I was further convinced when my daughter picked out a gorgeous lilac color and I began to see mounds of pink tulle and flowery paper lanterns in our near future.  I realized then that deep down I wanted the girly room for her.  I wanted it bad.
Since our children were attending the ASPV Sharks Day Camp this year, we thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to take a week to transform what was my husband’s studio into a purple paradise and the children’s original room into blue boy land.   We would do this at a leisurely pace along with (our children were at camp for crying out loud), frequent breaks for lunch in restaurants that we could actually choose ourselves. On Monday we would begin, and by Friday of that same week they would arrive home to the Great Unveiling and we would pop open a bottle of grape juice or something.
My husband and I will pretty much consistently underestimate the amount of time and effort involved in most of our DIY projects, mostly because he is incapable of seeing the dark side to anything, and I am easily pulled in by his unfailing optimism.  Unfortunately for us in this case, this meant that we were woefully ill-prepared for the epic nature of what we had set out to do.  This room change set off a chain reaction similar to the events that unfolded after the President of the United States pressed The Button or pulled The Lever in all of those 80’s movies about a nuclear holocaust.
First the studio had to be completely cleaned out, and I discovered a collection of boxes full of random items that had to be painstakingly separated and dealt with.  Then I had to store the newly organized boxes in the area under the stairs, which was full of boxes of the same random nature.   You see where I am going with this.
During this frantic activity, my husband (bless him) was patiently painting walls that were unbelievably porous and needed a painter that could go back over the same spot over and over again without the aid of medication and who wouldn’t mind returning to the paint store at least three times for more paint.
The Great Unveiling did take place on Friday after camp, as it happens.  Nearly three weeks later.  With my husband spread-eagled on the bed in a swoon from paint fumes and 5 garbage bags overflowing in the Lego-free living room.
The children set down their backpacks and ran up to their rooms as though running to the tree at 5am (true story) on Christmas morning.  I watched my daughter twirl around in her candy-colored heaven and my son run to his new Star Wars Lego shelf, beaming like Luke’s light saber.  I left them there to prepare for bed and then smiled to myself as I eavesdropped on the best thing of all:  My children, each in his/her brand-new room, describing it to the other over their tin can phone.