Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Room Of Her Own

If there was one longing that defined my childhood, it was my desire for my own space. When I was ten, I wrote a letter to President Reagan, begging for a little plot of land for a garden (I received a form letter in reply, regretfully informing me that the president couldn't possibly grant every favor that was requested of him). I made my mother nail bedspreads to the ceiling of the room Keri and I shared, and insisted that Keri say "Knock, knock," if she wanted to come over to my side. So as long as Andy and I have been together, I've been adamant that I would never have more kids than I could provide individual rooms for. When we moved into our white elephant of a house with its eight bedrooms, it seemed like that would never be an issue. Then again, I never anticipated having five children, or that Keri and Matty and their kids would move in with us. Suddenly, everyone but Jonah was sharing. And it was fine, until the last few months, when the novelty of bunk beds had long worn off and Erika began melting down on a regular basis about the "little kids" that were always following her around and "messing up" her stuff.

I readily admit, I was sympathetic. And Matty told me that the storage room at the back of the second floor could be converted into a bedroom easily enough, just by ripping out some built-in cabinets and giving it a bright coat of paint. At first, my plan was to set the whole room up and surprise Erika, but I chickened out when I realized that if she was too afraid to sleep so far away from everyone else, I would be stuck with a lilac and buttercup guest room. So I told her, and she was as thrilled as I hoped she'd be. She moved in on Thanksgiving day, even though the carpet, desk and nightstands haven't arrived yet, and her clothes are still in her old room because I'm still cleaning out the closets in her new room. She hasn't even complained about the fact that the room is always cold - and I mean really cold, sixty degrees cold, two comforters and a space heater cold. But I know I wouldn't have complained either. She's just happy, as I would have been, to have a door knob to hang her "Keep out" sign from.

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