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.