My oldest daughter turned 14 today. Soon she’ll be starting high school. She’s amazing, full of energy and laughter; she takes on life with gusto.
Instead of a birthday party, she wanted to redecorate the room she shares with her younger sister.
She picked out paint colors, a new bed, and new bedding. With a plan, a budget, and lots of enthusiasm, she’s hankering to begin. Directing that energy toward her father, she encourages him to get on with it! Paint swatches in hand, she and her dad go off to purchase paint, tape, and all the other necessary paraphernalia needed to paint, at Home Depot.
First things first:
- Empty the room of its contents
- Wash down the walls
- Lay down the drop cloths
- Wait until after Independence day celebrations are over
Dressers graced first the hallway, and then the dining room. Mattresses and box springs eventually migrated to out-of-the-way places. Build-in dresser drawers were stacked outside, as were bins of stuffed animals. Yup, there was clutter and stuff just about everywhere.
- Help dad paint
- Get bored and visit friends
- Let dad finish painting
- Become irritated that it’s taking so long
Home improvement projects always take longer than originally estimated (and always cost more, too). Between finishing the walls and taping off the trim, my teenager began to feel displaced. Teens need their own space, they need to retreat into their lair whenever the world is too big, and demands to fit into the ascribed role of young adult presses down upon slight shoulders becomes too intense. In an empty room under reconstruction, where can one possibly eke out a space of quiet solitude?
Necessity breeds ingenuity, and my girl is a fantastic problem solver. She found the perfect space, filled it with pillows, blankets, and her laptop, and snuggled into her very own nest. Brilliant. Her anxiety levels decreased, and she waited out the completion of the project with her sense of humor and joyful enthusiasm intact.
I believe that there’s a lesson in here for me: When the world overwhelms me, caver out a quiet place, surround myself with people and things that comfort me, and nest.
Slowly but surely, as budget permits, the room is coming together. Already, memories are being made.