One of the things that surprised me about having kids is how much they change your environment. I remember coming home from the most MISERABLE baby shower ever when I was pregnant with Tre (I was the first in my group of friends to fall pregnant - too early for it to be exciting. My peeps were bewildered by a party that didn't include questionable mixed drinks in red plastic cups. Worst. Baby. Shower. Ever.), and I was completely blown away by my new baby swing. I sat on the couch and cried and cried and cried because it hit me that I was having a BABY and he was bringing FURNITURE that I would be expected to keep in my HOUSE.
Well, he did bring furniture into my house. And toys and clothes and those tiny nail clippers and rubber nose-sucker things...nothing was ever the same. And although you couldn't have convinced me that day, as I cried over my new baby swing, I never missed the mixed-drinks-in-red-plastic-cups days.
But still, it does surprise me sometimes. Things have a way of being moved around. For example: I have, stashed on a shelf in the laundry room, a container of glass marbles from the flower arrangements we had at the wedding reception. I don't know what I thought I was going to do with them - it's not like I'm the sort to randomly commit acts of floral design. Nonetheless, I kept them, in their clear plastic jar with the blue lid.
But the other day I found them, all spilled amongst the boys' Lego collection. I swear, that bin of Legos has eaten more household items...we should dump it out and check for Jimmy Hoffa. Or the economy. Something.
It didn't upset me, per se, finding my glass marbles there. It just...surprised me. But the truth is that this is the kids' house too. So sometimes the boys are going to repurpose things that are supposed to just be pretty. Sometimes the girls are going to appropriate my eyeliner. We share this life, this space, and we all put our prints on it.
A few weeks ago Raphael found some modeling clay in a school cupboard. He was delighted with it, and fell to creating with it immediately. Every so often he shouted up the stairs, explaining his progress. He'd discovered that if he ran hot water over it, he could mold it easily.
"I'm making a TREE," he shouted, "but an EVERGREEN TREE! And I have an OWL that's going to live in the tree!"
I just love it when he gets like this. He's a boy of intemperate moods, and when his passion runs to creativity instead of mayhem, I am thrilled by the glimpse of all the promise in him.
So when he came upstairs with his finished creation, there was nothing else I could do except put it on display.
And that's how my living room came to be decorated with this very special artwork: