Yesterday I described myself as a sort of free-range parent, by which I mean that my children have the freedom to explore and make stuff and figure out how things work after school is done. But yesterday the boys and I ranged right down to their room with a carpet shampooer after school was done. On the surface things were dusty and disorganized, but not too bad. We hauled all the small bits out, dusting and washing walls as we progressed in the emptying out.
Alex was in a great mood for cleaning, “Mama, do you think I should just pitch this?” My answer was always, “Yes! YES!” Over the years we have had many “discussions” about his treasures. As a two year old he always found a stick or a rock he wanted to keep in the time it took to get from the vehicle to the door. The treasures changed with age, but there were just too many of them. It felt like a breakthrough in our mother/son relationship yesterday as we chucked out the broken wooden guns, the ancient hummingbird nest, the empty shell casings, the used albuterol inhalers. When I saw those inhalers, about 10 of them, I knew we have a throwback. My grandpa kept empty insulin bottles for decades. We filled a trash bag and put some outgrown things on a Goodwill stack. This is a breathless achievement for a
packrat saving person. The happiest moment for Gregory was finding 9 long lost dollars that he had hidden in a hard cover book and completely forgotten.
After the carpets were cleaned, it was time to reassemble. I had an idea of how I wanted the room to look and they had ideas of how they wanted the room to look, and ne’er the twain did meet. Have you ever seen those Ikea clips, where they do room makeovers and everything just looks so amazing? That was what I would have liked. They wanted a lot of floor space to dump the Knex and wrestle and sprawl.
A memory from childhood surfaced, of how my mom would coach us in getting our space sparkling clean, then leave us to put it back together with never a word about how we had to do it. It was such a thrill to rearrange furniture and we could figure out on our own if having a bed sticking out by the door was impractical. I decided to defer to the boys yesterday, but I wasn’t very gracious about it because I kept making suggestions. I can tell you though, their room now has flavor, with dressers and shelves marching around the walls and the bed stuck tightly into a corner like an afterthought. Every flat surface is adorned with Lego creations and dinosaurs and there is this enormous crane that towers on a nightstand.
But it is clean. All of it. I win.