We've had a lot of change around here lately.
The new baby tops the list. But aside from that, our cat died, Rye turned 4 and Mommy stays home from work now, which has affected daycare dropoff and pickup routines and probably a host of other things including attitudes and outlooks.
This weekend, I got it in my head that the new room we'd talked about doing for Rye needed to happen now. I don't know why I am this way. But once I get an idea in my head, I have a hard time letting it go. So on Saturday, I touched up the paint in his room and purchased a twin headboard and bedding. On Sunday, we made record speed at one of the worst weekend shopping stops in the world - Nebraska Furniture Mart - and left largely unscathed with a twin mattress and box springs.
I'd been going non-stop since we woke up Saturday - shopping, cleaning, doing laundry, etc. - and in the middle of the afternoon, I paused in my flurry and noticed Rye laying in my bed, under the covers, face buried in my pillow.
I went and sat by him.
I offered strawberries.
And as we lay together in my queen-sized bed, strawberry juice dripping down his chin, we talked. Actual talking, not "what did you do at daycare today?" or "what do you want for lunch?" but meaningful conversation.
Questions like this: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Rye? What do you want to do for a job?"
His reply: "I want to write stories."
Me, genuinely surprised: "Oh. Like books?"
He nodded. "Like Lord of the Rings," he said.
I have no idea how he knows anything about Lord of the Rings.
I told him then that his parents write stories for a newspaper but that our stories are about real things, real people. We don't make them up. He said then that's what he wanted to do, too.
I said what moms are supposed to say to their little boys - that they can grow up to do whatever they want.
Then I mentioned maybe he'd want to help people by being a doctor.
His response: "Yeah. And doctors make a lot of money."
We talked for a minute or two then about whether money makes people happy and what does make people happy. We didn't come up with any answers.
I do know that no one lives happily ever after, at least not without some challenges. There are no white horses. And no one gets whisked off into the sunset.
Rye told me that afternoon he doesn't plan to get married. He is instead, he says, going to live with me forever.
And then he kissed my forehead.
That was about it for the conversation about stuff that matters. Strawberries gone, he requested Sun Chips (which, yes, I also let him eat in our bed, to someone's chagrin) and before long he got up to play and I went back to being busy doing stuff that really doesn't matter at all.
His room is done, for whatever that's worth. After 15 minutes in the bed that he declared "awesome" last night, he poked his head out of his room, called to me downstairs and asked me to help tuck him into his old, car-shaped toddler bed.
Change is scary. For all of us. Though most times, I think, it's probably for the best.
Still, there's no need to rush growing up. Being an adult is not all you think it's going to be as a child. It seems as grown-ups, we could all use a little more play, a few more stories, a bit more hope.
Here's the new room: