When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The desk of many colours

Call it creativity, boredom, a drive for perfection, or maybe just call it ridiculous, but whatever it is, I frequently find myself with a sudden urge to repaint rooms in our home. Matt is so used to me saying I think we "need" to do a room over that he simply says "okay" whenever I bring up the subject. (Bless his patient heart!) I'm pretty sure that I'm on a first-name basis with the paint-counter people at Home Depot....

My latest painting bonanza was triggered by a trip to HomeSense (a dangerous place, apparently) where I found a solar system quilt set that I knew Will would go over the moon for. Of course, upon me bringing the quilt home, it became obvious that the room would look much better with a different shade of blue on the walls, and that the desk in his room would also need a makeover. This snowball effect was how I found myself spending several of the boys' school hours yesterday emptying Will's desk drawers and smoothing a few new coats of paint on his work station's well-worn surfaces.

I actually enjoy painting when I have the time to do it in peace; it forces me to stop running at my usual frantic pace and take some time alone with my favourite music and my thoughts. While I was glossing the paintbrush back and forth over the wood, I rode warm waves of nostalgia remembering the desk's long family history. This is the same desk that my mom bought for my dad many years ago, when they were really still just kids, and my dad was studying to become a teacher. It is the desk that lived for years in my family's playroom when my brothers and I were growing up, holding the sewing machine and supplies my mom used to make us doll clothes and costumes for Hallowe'en and school plays. It is the desk that my dad repainted with love for me to take away to university, and at which I spent hours learning to think and write and feel like an adult. It is the desk that I have now painted twice for my boys to enjoy, a place where they have drawn me colourful pictures full of smiling faces and written stories in wobbly, newly-learned printing. This desk has known the hopes and dreams, successes and frustrations, tears and jubilant discoveries of three generations. If I were to peel back all of its many layers of paint, it would read like the pages of a well-loved book, one that reveals wonderful details about the lives that have left their mark on its wood.

By the end of the week, Will's room will have a completely new look; it will provide a boy whose mind is bright like the stars a perfect place to play, rest and dream. His desk may look young again, but it will remain in its old place, a longtime loyal friend whose surface will provide a sturdy support for all of the stories that have yet to be written.

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