Last January I sorted and purged and rearranged my children’s bedroom. We have three kids in a relatively small room and after getting rid of old toys and trying to assign homes for the new toys that had resulted from Christmas I had taken everything apart and decided maybe there was a better way to put it all back together. I mostly guesstimated, but did some half-hearted measuring too. My friend convinced me to take the final furniture rearranging leap by helping to push the bunk-bed from one wall to another. It barely fit . . .and by barely I mean we had maybe 1/4″ of space to play around with so that drawers could still open and children would still be able to climb on and off. But it made the room feel bigger and opened up floor space. However, it did create some tricky spots where toys and books get swallowed up, for months at a time.
The other night something important to my 6 year-old daughter fell behind the bed. It was already past bed time and I had been semi-single parenting for the week due to a busy complicated schedule, so when I say that the bedtime routine hadn’t gone smoothly, you know I’m sparing unpleasant parenting details. My daughter began to cry, “Mom! Please will you come and get it?” Without going into the room, determined to be done with bedtime I called loudly (I hesitate to say yelled, but maybe that is more accurate?), “No! You don’t need whatever it is right now because you’re going to sleep. We can find it tomorrow!” Muffled complaints and whines made their way out into the kitchen where I crankily stood doing dishes. I ignored them, sure that I had made myself clear enough and that she’d survive. A few minutes later I heard a clunk. As I walked down the hall I could hear my four-year-old son, “Mahgwet, I can’t see it. Shine yo’ light down hewe.” (He’s got a really cute “r” speech impediment that I’m not sure how to communicate on the screen, but it definitely adds to the stowy.) I stopped short of the door and peeked in. Cole had shimmied down between the bunk bed and the wall to search out his sister’s fallen item among the dust bunnies and other forgotten toys. He pulled things out one at a time and threw them onto the bed, “That’s not it! Gwoss, it’s all haiwy.” I giggled quietly as I watched the books, toys, and hairballs come out.
“Hewe it is!” He reached up with the restored treasure. “Thanks Cole!” He shimmied back up the side of the bed, over the rail, pushed all the other junk he’d just recovered onto the floor and grinned as he said, “It’s a good thing Jesus cweated me like this so I could fit back hewe and find this stuff.”
“Yeah, that is a good thing,” I thought.
Often, when we’re trying to make improvements, the changes we make create other problems. Wouldn’t it be awesome if when we find ourselves in those tight spots we could approach it like a child and be grateful for what it’s teaching us about ourselves and helping us to understand?