Before Alex was born, we worked on transforming the empty room in our house into our baby boy's room. My sister-in-law helped us design our bear theme- she painted bear faces and paw prints in an alternating pattern around the middle of his room. At my baby shower, I was gifted a hand-painted bookshelf with bear decals on it. A chocolate brown chair that reclined was where I sat, reading to Alex before he was born, from the books we'd been given. I sat there and talked to him and planned and dreamed.
After he was born, the chocolate brown chair in the teddy bear room was a favorite place to hold him, cuddle him, sing to him, be together. I can close my eyes now, and picture his soft head cuddled into my neck. As he grew, and the crib got traded for a bed, the chair remained. It was my place to sit to read to him at night, to hold his hand, to talk through the events of the day. I would stay until his breathing was rhythmic and I knew he was asleep.
As Alex nears ten years old, we knew his room needed to change. Teddy bear faces were not as appropriate now for our soccer-loving boy. The teddy bears and paw prints were painted over as we upgraded his room. The chocolate brown chair was removed. The place I sat for years, before Alex was born and through his babyhood, toddler years till now..... gone. More than even the bear faces and paw prints, I miss that chair.
In the space where it sat, we will get Alex a desk. He is growing up. Keeping the bears and the chair would not change that time is moving on, each day older, each day more independent.
Now, when I read to him at night, I perch on his bed. I don't linger anymore- he used to want me to sit in his chair for a while after reading to him. He liked the company. But no chair, so now I go and he adjusts to going to sleep all on his own. And I kiss him goodnight, turn off his light, and walk out the door.
Isn't being a parent learning how to do this, over and over again? Learning how to let go when you want to hold on? Dreaming them into existence, then watching as they create their own way, dreaming their own separate dreams?
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski