Someone asked Abba Anthony, “What must one do in order to please God?” The old man replied, “Pay attention to what I tell you: whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.”
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
When I read Virginia Woolf’s A Room Of One’s Own a few years ago I was struck by the notion that women are in desperate need of personal space, literal space. The reality of having a special space that is all my own is something that I cannot manage at this time in my life. I cannot even go to the bathroom by myself. But, I remember a time when I did not share everything, I had a little place to be by myself and dream, sing, pray, read, and think. I had a room of my own when I was young.
It is this memory, and the warmth it creates that inspired me to create a special place that my daughters call their own, a room of their own…even if they do share the space. For my oldest two daughters, sharing is all they know, they have always shared a room. But, it is ok…it is their own room together. I love listening to them giggle at night, sharing secrets, whispering things to each other that they will never tell me. Sisterhood is nourished in shared space, their special place.
Being the oldest in a large family has its perks, but the perks come at a price. The older children bear a kind of burden that the littles will never know. When the littles are big will they remember all the little sacrifices their big sisters made for them, all the times that they were shown kindness or allowed to be a part…the gentleness, the patience, the caring? Just last night I overheard my oldest two making Christmas gift lists for their little sisters, and I think a major homemade doll furniture project is underway. This makes me hope…maybe this lifestyle creates and nourishes true affection. I try to keep that in mind when I see attitudes, bickering, and drama.
As Queen Mother, I like to inspire and facilitate affection…to encourage it. When my older girls give, I like to give back. In this way I hope they feel the rewards of their kindness, hard work, and selflessness. It keeps things reciprocal, and shouldn’t all relationships be reciprocal? I do not do these things to be fair…fairness is overrated and impossible in large families. I do these things because I love my girls, and they love me…we are family.
I like to give back to my older girls by treating them to special things like going to a favorite restaurant, spending time alone with me, buying a new outfit, picking up a specific treat when I go grocery shopping, giving them time alone when they request it, and making sure that I help them pursue their own interests and passions. And that leads me to what I want to share with you in this post.
A new room of their own!
For a couple of weeks we have been working on this project together… refreshing paint, buying new bedding, ordering new accessories, and having a ball. I taught the girls how to paint a room, make and hang curtains (no sew), and we even made a fun little wall accessory out of twinkle lights. They have been wanting a more “teenagery” (as they call it) room. So here it is! I hope you enjoy the before and after pictures. As you will see, this room was in desperate need of a make-over.
|Before & After|
The girls love reading in bed…
|On Caroline’s Night Stand
The Story of the World Volume 2
Hans Christian Anderson
Lord of the Rings
Alice in Wonderland
Out of the Silent Planet
|On Addy’s Night Stand
The Trial and Death of Socrates
The House of Hades
Eusibius The History of the Church
Pride and Prejudice
The Norton Anthology of World Literature
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare
- You can visit my Pinterest Board and see all the links and inspirations. I warn you though, I am not a good Pinterest person. I cannot seem to get into it that much. I did find it useful when trying to put together this room. Maybe some afternoon I will sit down with a cup of tea and discover what everyone else seems to love, but for now I remain a novice.
- The no sew curtain idea came from here. They are tablecloths. Extra long curtains were not in our budget, so I improvised.
- We spray painted the bookshelf and lined the back with contact paper from the Dollar Store.
- We also spray painted the lamp shades. I have watermelon pink spray paint dust all over my garage.
- We have a navy and white chevron rug on our wishlist…maybe for Christmas!