I worked really hard in the girls’ room yesterday. I had been doing things a little at a time over the last couple of weeks, but yesterday I really dug in. Drew and I have been talking a lot about what to do with the room. We had thought that we would just repaint and redecorate and have it as a guest room. That thought meant that I would keep my office in the old play room (that was the back half of the garage). Then we started wondering what we could do with the tubs of stuff that we want to keep. If Drew is to be able to use the front half of the garage as his workshop then that means we need storage. We looked at storage buildings for the back yard and then considered just renting a storage unit. THEN…
I began to question whether or not we would want anyone sleeping in the girls’ room, even if it was redecorated. I brought that up to Drew and he agreed that the answer was no. I suggested this… that we take down the wall that we put up to separate the garage and let it be a full garage again… I make the girls’ room my new office/craft room… then we have room for storage in part of the garage and Drew has lots more room for his tools, lawn stuff and work space.
We had to get over the idea of taking the wall down, since we knew that money was spent to put it up years ago. The fact is that that wall served its purpose well… it was a safe and comfortable play room for the girls when they needed it most. It is not longer necessary and the space could be used differently. So, we will be tackling that job in the near future. The good news is that it is much easier to take a wall down than it was to put that wall up!
Back to my original point… I worked really hard in the girls’ room yesterday. I finally realized that it was much less overwhelming once I designated one tub for Emma and one tub for Alex. That way I had a place to put the things that were important and we wanted to keep. Then getting rid of all the other junk was much easier. I have several boxes of specific things to give to other people and my Tahoe is full of things to donate. The toy trunk holds the toys and games that I chose to keep for nieces and nephews who visit. I also have an overflowing (seriously packed and still overflowing) laundry basket filled with the girls’ t-shirts. I started keeping them when they were just toddlers, thinking that someday I would make them each a quilt. Of course, now that quilt will be for us. Heck, I have so many of their t-shirts that we may have to make 10 quilts! As I went through them yesterday I really enjoyed remembering where they all came from and remembering each of my girls wearing them. My memory could see them as clearly as if they were both still standing before me. T-shirts from the beach, Disney World, Sea World, sporting events, vacation Bible school, rodeos, etc. So many fun things and someday I will cut them up and make a quilt. For now they are stored safely.
Now that the room is disassembled, Drew and I went to Lowe’s and got Kilz to cover the deep magenta color that the girls’ chose for their room after the house flooded in 2011. I have yet to decide what color I will paint the room.
I’m as surprised as anyone that we are doing this so quickly. I didn’t really know when we would be ready to make any changes to Alex & Emma’s room, but it just feels like the right time. There seems no sense in leaving it as it was. Part of this is just because of the peace we have with the situation. Drew & I honestly have no regrets over the life we lived with our girls and, while there are things that hold beautiful memories, there is also just a bunch of stuff that was just not important. Maybe I can put it like this… all of that stuff served its purpose and that purpose is now complete. Holding on to it now would feel like we were serving the stuff instead of vice versa.
Yesterday marked two months since Alex died. Weird. I honestly don’t feel like I’m intruding on her as I clean things out, though. I did feel that way after Emma died. I think that was because our girls were so close to each other. They shared many things, including their room. After Emma died we fixed her bed as it would have been and left it that way. We didn’t change anything in their room because it was still their room. Changing things would have meant disrupting the space that Alex shared with her sister and that wasn’t our place to do. It’s different now. It’s just stuff. It’s just a room. My girls aren’t in any of those things, just as my girls are not at the cemetery. They aren’t here y’all. I feel their presence in moments, not in places or things. I feel them when certain songs come on the radio. I feel them when the sunset is pink & purple. You can’t put those things in a box or lock them in a room. I wouldn’t want to. God is good, y’all. So good. It’s a peace that passes all understanding.