Danielle’s Room….

We moved to Northern Westchester nine years ago when Danielle was ten years old.   At the time, she shared my childhood penchant for all things purple.  As the eldest, she got the biggest bedroom in the corner.  Her sister, two years younger, got the bedroom next door that is half the size.

Danielle’s room was beautiful.  Deep purple walls complemented the lighter violet carpeting.   Her furniture is antique white and I made sure that the hand painted jewelry box and dainty lighting matched perfectly.   The curtains were sheer white with lovely flowers. In fact, it looked quite similar to my room growing up.

After a few years, Danielle’s carpet became ragged and she begged us to change the color to orange and I obliged.  (Brian, bless him, has always been happy to stay out of any decorating discussion.  He likes to be surprised.)  Next came the bright yellow walls.   There is only one word that may be used to describe that room.  Hideous.  Simply hideous.  I kept the door closed and pretended the room didn’t exist.

The final blow came this past summer when Danielle announced that she would like to give her room to her 11-year old brother since she was now at college.   At this point, he occupied the much smaller room next door. What!?  This was entirely my fault.  I allowed her to break the code of all of us parents with last names that end in a vowel.  That bedroom should have stayed purple until we sold the house or died.  It would have become a shrine to the eldest child, just as mine was!   I had failed.

Never one to let the disasters of life keep me down, I flew into action.  Within a few weeks, both rooms were completely redecorated. The youngest now has a gorgeous room in hues of blue with all new dark wood furniture.  Danielle picked a very pretty, very bright, green for her walls and I decorated around it.  The finishing touches were two bright floral pink and green area rugs.  So lovey! So Lilly!

Danielle arrived home for Christmas break and I could tell immediately that she did not share my ardor for the new room.  Along the way I forgot that she wasn’t ten any more.     She teased me a bit about the room, but she never complained.  In fact, I heard Danielle tell her aunts that she recognizes that she is now a guest when she comes home and that she was happy that I loved the room, especially the rugs.

Last week I asked Danielle to sit with me at the computer.   I found a black and white area rug, duvet cover, pillow shams and window treatment that I thought she might like.  We cleaned out her closet and rearranged her dresser.  She will go back to Scotland tomorrow secure in the knowledge that a room she loves awaits her arrival back home at the end of May.

Of course we are raising Danielle and her siblings to grow into strong, independent adults.    Yet, no matter where life takes them, they will never be considered guests when they visit. They are our children, and this will always be their home.

Happily, the green and pink rugs are now in our bedroom.  As for Brian, though he probably noticed, he hasn’t said a word.


Snow day….

Was I the only one surprised by the phone call at 5:18 am telling me that the boys would be home today due to inclement weather?  I watched the news last night but neither Anderson nor Greta had the courtesy to fill me in on the bad weather coming our way.  My first reaction was disbelief, followed by despair.  I wanted to call the local authorities and offer to drive every school bus myself to get them to school.   It was quite dramatic.

Look, I am not against having the occasional snow day nor am I averse to surprise changes in my schedule.   It is just that snow days and teen-agers are not a good mix.    When they are stuck in the house all day with me it is unpleasant for everyone involved.

Gone are the days when a nice mug of hot chocolate made you the best mom in the world. This afternoon I made the boys homemade strawberry sorbet.  I was told it was a bit tart.  Really?   Next time I will be sure to add some kale.

I’m bored! I’m hungry! He hit me! I’m hungry! He is such a baby!  I’m hungry!  Now he’s crying! I’m hungry! I don’t want to play that game – why can’t we have two Xboxes? When’s dinner? We’re hungry!   The boys were so busy complaining that they did not notice me lying on the floor, gasping for breath as they sucked all of the good air out of the room.

Adding to this nonsense was our second daughter’s refusal to go to school late and my husband’s uncanny ability to always be away when there is a snow day. We cleaned off her car and I had her do a test drive to make sure that she could handle the snow covered road.  She was fine but I was a mess.

Sigh.  Do those of you with big kids remember snow days past when you bundled up the little guys and threw them outside until every single inch of them was frozen?  Then they would take a nice hot bath to thaw out and they would look so cute with their ruddy faces?  I don’t either, but I know they happened because I have pictures.

There is some light at the end of the snow day tunnel for the parent of teen-agers.   Since all activities were cancelled, we were able to enjoy a lovely homemade dinner without rushing, followed by a spirited game of Trivial Pursuit.   It was one of those nights where the kids and I laughed until we cried.

It just goes to show that one can enjoy her children at any age if she is willing to meet them where you are.

Here’s hoping your snow day ended on a high note, too.