Time passes so quickly that we take it for granted until we reach meaningful milestones that bring that eternal march into perspective. I've learned that once children enter the picture those milestones seem to become even more significant.
It was 18 years ago on Christmas Eve that my friend Earl called me to share the news that his son was born. Two months ago that little one who is now a young man left for Navy basic training. Where do the years go?
Around the same time, my daughter Kathryn now a brand new four year old finally decided it was time to give her room a makeover. Over the last two years we gradually made changes in her room making it less a nursery and more a little girl's bedroom, but her recent protests could no longer go unnoticed. Kathryn decided it was time to graduate into a new bed.
When we first prepared for our daughter's arrival we purchased a crib that could be converted into a toddler bed and finally a full bed, but as reality set in we realized her room really was not large enough for a full bed and all her little girl toys. Of course we had the rails which are now stored with the sides of the crib which would form the head and foot boards, but the room just cannot contain it. Because of this, we promised our daughter we would get her a "big girl" bed right after the holidays.
That day was last Friday.
We didn't wait until then to select the bed. A month ago when we were out Christmas shopping we preselected some candidates and asked Kathryn to choose one. She went with a bed that had some storage drawers underneath for her toys. We concurred that twin bed was a good selection and promised her that would be the bed for her.
Friday she went to Winnie-the-Pooh preschool and she knew when she came home that Pop-pop and Grammy were bringing their truck over to help us transport the bed. And we were off to the store to pick up her bed as soon as they arrived.
We managed to get everything loaded up on the truck and Mommy took Kathryn to Wal-Mart to get sheets. Grammy and Pop-pop also picked up some Tinkerbell decals for her walls to replace the Noah's ark animals that had been there since before she was born.
After we got home as Katie's dad and I carried the bed in the house I quickly realized we were hauling it upstairs to assemble it in pieces as it was quite heavy. We did follow through on our promise to take the toddler bed apart and stored it in the attic after we got settled. Kathryn helped us with the screws and the pegs by putting them in a bag as she eagerly watched us remove her first bed from the room.
I have to be honest. It was a bit bittersweet for me to make this last change in the nursery to truly make it a little girl's bedroom. Taking apart the bed was not so difficult, but when it came to changing the decorations, I had to pause. I remembered the fall afternoon when Katie and I lovingly placed those animals on the walls and the border around the top of the room.
We so carefully picked a wall hanging of a lion and lamb laying together with a Bible verse about protection and placed the crib there where it waited for its little occupant and now four years later having served their purpose they were returning to storage, but those memories are still alive in my memory and heart.
After we made these initial preparations we brought her new mattress upstairs for her to use that night. She looked at it as a campout and enjoyed breaking it in with her stuffed animals that night. Of course Saturday was the big day and we spent a good deal of time packing toys, books and clothes, moving furniture in and out of the room, vacuuming and cleaning.
Finally, late in the afternoon, the moment she was waiting for and I slightly dreaded arrivedassembly of the new bed. I was not dreading it because of the milestone but more because my adventures and success with assembling pre-fab furniture was iffy at best. So much so, that my wife who enjoys it typically takes the lead with my blessing.
No matter which of us undertake the lead on these projects, we always end up putting the critical piece on backwards or upside down, but this project went flawlessly, almost. Even Kathryn joined in with the assembly by twisting some screws into the bed and inserting cam locks into holes with Daddy and Mommy's help.
In no time at all the bed was finished, the mattress placed and the sheets made on top of it. Kathryn couldn't wait for bedtime that night and she is as happy as a clam. We are so happy to fulfill our promise to her and she has finally made the final step in my mind from toddler to little girl. Her room is now my daughter's bedroom and no longer a nursery and while I am excited and happy for her joy, I realize there will always be a part of me sitting in the chair singing my little girl wrapped in a baby blanket to sleep.
The first four years went too fast, and I cherish each day with my little girl. We are truly blessed.
Til next time…