Welcome to the second prompt in the Mom Before Mom series. I am so excited to introduce myself to you before you would have ever known me… and to reconnect with my younger self. Let’s begin… or continue.
What did your childhood bedroom look like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?
My parents bought the house in which I grew up in October of 1984. I came in November. I always had the same bedroom, the last room on the right, though now a newly renovated home has made way for a slightly different layout, it is still the one room where I feel I find the most solace. Whoever said you can’t go home was wrong.
Growing up I had my own bedroom, complete with a platform bed my father built me . As I matured into an opinionated 7 year old, my room became a giant poster of me. I hung posters, filled shelves with art projects and crafts (I have always loved crafts), and taped pictures of JTT and Johnny Depp to my walls. These were the Winona/Depp days, where I filled my spare time outside of the gym (I was a competitive gymnast for 10 years) drooling over Home Improvement and Edward Scissorhands.
After a family tragedy, I was offered a “new” room. A fresh start in the form of new furniture and a bigger bed. My dad re-stained my mother’s childhood bed frame and bureau in whitewash. I have always loved the look of rustic beach homes; the ones that look like the furniture is 100 years old, but it’s actually brand new from Pottery Barn. I had my mom’s things from her girl-hood, though, her beautiful solid-wood furniture became my own. My walls were painted a pretty periwinkle and the lampshade, valance, curtains and bedspread were Laura Ashley. It was the most girlie I’d ever been, or will ever be in my whole life. But when my Dad passed away in 1998, the trend of over-cluttered shelves and walls adorned with pictures from my life, torn from skater magazines or stolen from my sister (she had some really cute friends) continued into my high school years, waning only after my 17th birthday into a room with intricate stories and special moments separated by picture frames and scrapbooks.
I feel like this time, when I learned to separate things, was also the time therapy began to work for me. I guess this is a deeper look into my life, than just my bedroom, but my bedroom was such a reflection of my mind. I had pictures in my bedroom from all walks of my life. My happy young years, before I turned 6 and my brother passed. Then the years after, when my Dad’s beard began to gray and my mom was worn. The months after my brothers were adopted. The joy (and sleepless nights) in the eyes of my parents and sister. The years that passed slowly, painfully after my Dad was gone. The years I turned on my own mom. The pictures in my room were not just taped on, they were mod podged to the walls. Clinging for meaning, a time-stamp of who I was and where I’d been. Loss, pain, overtly-sexual images of Abercrombie models I’d dreamt of kissing, next to pictures of friends who abandoned me after my depression set in. After I cut all my hair off and dyed it purple, gained 20 pounds and lost 35. Boyfriends came and went physically, but in my room they were glued to the wall, forever 15 or 16 or 17. Telling me they loved me in trade for heartbreak.
Somehow, my mom helped me tear all of those things down. From the walls, to the ceiling. We re-carpeted, repaired punched holes and torn out sections of wall from my glue. We repainted my room. It was like making over my soul. In the interim, I had broken the bed frame that was once my mother’s. My bed became just a metal-frame beneath a full mattress and box-sping, covered by flannel sheets and a cosmic red and blue flannel bedspread. I had sheer white curtains with the cosmic pattern in silver on them. I’m not sure why I picked that, except I subconsciously love space (I didn’t realize this until a few months ago when even Dave was out-nerded by my desire to watch more space shows). Either way, when I came home from college, my space was different as I was an ever changing college student, but it was always my room.
Since the renovation, the room is more sterile. Nothing in it really belongs to me except my American Girl, Molly, and Bear-Bear, my May Stick from my 8th grade year at Springside- all of which are shoved into one of the closets (now the room has two closets!). There are some books on the shelves that will become Addie’s, but the bed spread isn’t mine, the mattress is too comfortable to be something I could afford and the pillows are king. The bed frame is a magnificent piece of furniture that was custom-made and amazing. My mother’s bureau is still in the room, with the same drawer liners I put in as a child and the same piece of custom glass my Dad had cut to fit the top, and that makes the room safe. However, it’s the music box that makes that room my room. There is an antique key wind music box that plays multiple songs, my favorite of which is Auld Lang Syne. It’s worth thousands to a collector, but it’s the one thing in my house that I always wanted (and the grand piano!). That music box, the size of a small hope chest, is my childhood.The first time I entered my bedroom from my youth, after the remodel was done and the house as my mother wanted it, I found this giant box atop an antique cabinet in the space where my bed used to be. My husband, a musician, could not believe his eyes when I lifted the lid and wound the box. He fell in love with it in that moment, as much as I had as a child.
My childhood remains as it always will, in shambles. There are times I wish never happened and people I wish were still here. Friends I never wanted to make and those who are still drifters in my life. But, the one thing that remains true to me (as much as it can in a home that’s not mine), is my bedroom. It’s not a guestroom, or somewhere others are welcome to sleep or watch television. My mom did not make it a craft room, or somewhere to store old sweaters. The dogs do not snuggle into the bed, and the closets always have empty hangers waiting for my family to hang their clothes. My room is not what it used to be, and neither am I. As an adult, the bedroom my husband and I share is not what I want it to be. The furniture is Ikea and the floor unfinished. My closet is small, and I’d love a few more feet, but that is my work in progress, and I’m sure it will change as I mature; Just as all the rooms in my heart- though they stay the same, they change too.