Friday, April 16, 2010

Pieces of childhood

As we put the finishing touches on the nursery, things are seeming more real. As if this watermelon growing on my front side isn't evidence enough, I daily get reminders that soon I will be the parent, the provider, the healer of ouchies, the responsible one. Sometimes it's scary and I can hardly breathe thinking about it. Most of the time it's sheer joy at the anticipation of meeting our little miracle and watching her grow.

Well, today everything just sort of shifted into place. Ya see there's this shelf. It's really not important at all, it wasn't made by a family member like some of my husbands furniture, it isn't the finest quality, it isn't even that unique. It is a plain wood shelf that was purchased and Minges Pumpkin Festival when I was a kid.

The Minges Pumpkin festival is a annual thing in my home town that I have missed only once since I was able to remember. It's not flashy or that big, it's important to my family but to the rest of the world it's just another fall festival. There are crafts for kids, a ton of fair style food (meaning very tasty unhealthyness) and tents full of hand made crafts and home goods, everything from jams and candles to my shelf.

According to my mother, I needed a shelf in my room. I didn't know why, I didn't ask questions, she said I needed it and we were at the Pumpkin festival and she bought one. It was naked wood, a light wood if I remember right, those of you more knowledgeable about such things may be able to identify it, but really it's irrelevant!

We painted it green, a light airy green, sort of like the color of a banana before it turns yellow, the faded green that's got hints of white in it, not the harsh green of a banana that needs another day before it's eaten. My room was multi-colored at the time, white with slashes of color all over the walls, and my mom felt that green was the best color, so green it was painted. I kept tea pots shaped like elephants on it for years. I would hide candy in them because my older brothers (both of whom have an insatiable sweet tooth) would raid my room for goodies when I wasn't home because they knew I hoarded them. They never found that particular hiding spot, those elephant tea-pots. They were the best!

When I entered junior high we moved. My room in the new house was yellow with white accents and I got to choose what color to paint the shelf this time, apparently I was old enough for my parents to trust not to pick a completely putrid color. Ha, little did they know. It got painted bright pink! I'm talking almost neon, 80's leg warmer pink! Through junior high, high school, and college it kept many things, from cheerleading memorabilia, to prom photos and pictures drawn my my nieces and nephews. When Jared and I got married the shelf was hung in the spare bedroom/office. It remained pink but housed a model car, a diploma, and a plant. It was a grown-up's shelf, collecting dust and all, but it was still bright pink :)

Well this week I decided that Addiston's room needs a shelf. (yeah, yeah I'm a little like my mother) I have no use in our new house for my pink childhood shelf, it doesn't match any of the spare bedroom's and I think Jared frankly would rather see it burned than hang it in the den, so today I found myself standing in the garage painting it brown. It's the perfect brown, I promise, it was color-matched by some high tech machine at Home Depot so that it would perfectly match the color brown in our little one's bedding. And as I stood there painting the shelf, remembering where it hung in my different bedrooms growing up, what items were deemed important enough to have a place of honor where I could barely reach, it hit me, this indescribable feeling and reality all wrapped up into one.

I'm the mom.

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