The Clock had just chimed 11pm when my husband and I finished brushing our teeth and we heard the faint sound of music. It was a school night and our oldest, then a 4th grader and notorious for never wanting to sleep, was singing. Seriously?! Exhausted, I trudged my way across the hall and harshly whispered to him for the sixth time that night to just go to sleep. The trouble was, R wasn’t just singing to himself. All four of our boys shared a bedroom.
Yep, all four. It sounds crazy, I know. But, apart from the occasional 11pm solos, it worked! Sure, when one woke up at 5am, all 4 were up at 5am. When one pair of socks got left on the floor, suddenly we were swimming knee high in little boy clothes. When toothpaste got on the counter, toothpaste was covering every surface imaginable. When pillow fights ensued, it was full on war. When we sent them to their room to get pjs on, we might as well have announced it was time for WWF wrestling. Someone was always complaining about the bedtime story choice (especially a certain 4-year-old that is so vehemently opposed to Harry Potter you’d think he were a supporter of You-Know-Who). And the shoes! Do you know how many feet four boys have, and how many shoes that equates to?? They were always missing shoes, finding shoes in random places, and wearing the same shoe but in two different sizes.
Ok, maybe it was a little crazy. But they were contained. Their toys were contained. I liked having them all in one spot near us in case some crazed lunatic broke into our house. Bedtime could all be done in one fell swoop–stories, prayers, lights out, done. And I attribute the fact that they all could sleep through a zombie apocalypse to their shared living quarters. I would have happily continued on that way forever. But…
Over winter break we decided it was finally time. We had talked about moving the older two to the spare bedroom downstairs for years, and they were beyond ready for their own space. After several delightful hours of moving beds and furnature here and there (few things in life elicit such joy for me than rearranging a room, much to my husband’s constant frustration), our boys and all their belongings were separated. The delight lasted just long enough to organize the closet, and then the reality began to sink in. I didn’t expect it to be a sad occasion, but as we climbed into bed that night, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of gloom creep through me. We had talked for years about moving bedrooms when they were older. Older! How did all that time pass, and how did our four little boys grow up to be not so little any more? While moving rooms wasn’t a terribly significant change in the grand scheme of things, for me it represented in a small way moving on to a new stage of life.
The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.Kakuzu Okakura, The Book of Tea
Whether our current changes are getting married, starting a family, sending a child off to their first day of kindergarten or college, going from full house to empty nest, retirement, and whether it is welcome or not, change can be brutal. Time is relentless about bringing a new stage of life, and that’s just something I may never be able to get used to.
I’ve also found, however, that each change has brought new and exciting experiences, unexpected adventures, and hidden blessings. As much as I’ve wished for my kids to stay little, the awesomeness of having boys that can go on adventures, carry on a intellegent and interesting conversation, and be so independent is definitely undeniable. While I miss having a toddler to chase after, I love who my kids are growing up to be and getting to be a part of that. And I wouldn’t change that for the world!
No matter what crossroads you find yourself, I hope you can appreciate where you’ve been, relish the memories you’ve made, and recognize the knowledge you’ve gained. I hope you can live in the moment, because too soon it will be in the past. And I hope you can look to the future with a brightness of hope, because “there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis
And tonight I’m going to be thankful that my boys have so many fun memories and plenty of lessons learned from sharing a room all together. I’ll be relieved that now if R decides to grace us with a rendition of Row, Row, Row Your Boat at midnight he will only be waking up one brother. And I’ll look forward to tomorrow, knowing it will bring new changes that, whether I like it or not, will add to this beautiful tapestry of life.