This past weekend we painted our “kid room.”

Most of you know that we moved into a house last Christmas that my parents bought about a year ago, we’re renting it from them and helping them fix it up. This past spring and summer, as we were going through the licensing process, I tended to think less about how the room was going to be decorated and more along the lines of “I’m excited that we’ll probably have floors before a placement comes!” “Maybe we’ll have kitchen cabinets, and no power tools on the kitchen table!” “Maybe we’ll have some boxes unpacked and actually have a room that’s more than 50% available!”

Then, I think we started to notice things like bedspreads and toys more when we were out in stores, thinking that we’d like to start getting a sense of what’s out there, so that when we know what age(s)/gender(s), we can run out and outfit the perfect room as quickly as possible.

But then I started to realize that if we don’t paint before a placement comes, it’s probably not the likeliest thing in the world that we’d paint after. And maybe it would be good to have a room that’s halfway inviting, rather than institutional-white walls and hospital-white bedspread and some of our rejected decor leaning against the wall in the corner.

So a couple weeks ago, actually after Bonnie posted that post about the super cute foster room, Dane and I decided that maybe it’d be good to have a room that’s exciting for a kid to come into, when they’re dropped at a total stranger’s house for an indeterminate amount of time.

So we went to Ikea, we went to Sherwin Williams, to Joann’s, we did a lot of Pinterest and Google Image searches for things like “gender-neutral kid room,” and we came up with a plan. We decided! On a plan!

Now, most of you will likewise know that my husband is extremely gifted in the areas of design and aesthetics, and he has a lot of wonderful, creative ideas, and sometimes coming up with ideas is much less of a difficulty than, say, landing on and sticking to one.

So a few days after the plan, we’re sitting there waiting for a paint sale that started 11/9, planning to paint (this past weekend), and Dane starts up with the image searches again.

I was possibly having one of those mopey, grumbly days. They happen. Right? They happen. So I’m sitting there looking at picture after picture of these adorable rooms, and realizing that we kind of started this process relatively late, possibly, and that I’d really like to try to have it done in the next couple weeks or so just in case, which, you know, isn’t much time… and that so many of the cutest rooms were gender and/or age-specific…

And I really kind of didn’t want to talk about it any more, even though I knew we should decide. I couldn’t figure out why, I just felt… bleh. About the whole thing. And then a little voice popped up in my head and said This is probably the only time you’ll get to ‘do’ a nursery.

And these dumb, big, fat, hot tears popped up. Like, two of them. I started to think about how limited we were by time and lack of specifics, and how different this experience is from  a lot of my friends’.

But where that voice was talking about what everybody else got and how mine was different, there was another voice that was kind of clearing its throat, and finally it piped in and said “Hey Abbey. Who cares. Seriously, who cares? When have you ever cared about this stuff?”

And I kind of sat up, and had a little mini-argument over the part of me that wanted to pity myself and feel picked-on, and the part that actually knows… anything, the part that makes sense.

Who taught me that every female has the innate right to “do” a nursery? That is not even a thing that I have ever desired or dreamt about. And yet when something brought to my attention that I was missing out on it, I got all whiney.

The room is a symptom, though. This little bit comes up in me every so often, about stuff I might miss out on: all the weird pregnancy stuff people all can talk about and share their stories, the parts where people start talking about who’s nose he has and who’s eyes she has*.

But it doesn’t fit, though, is the thing. There’s this little impetuous punk that wells up sometimes, and I can feel that I want to feel sorry for me or for us, but then I look it in the face, and I’m like “What are you even talking about?” Who cares about noses or personalized, color-coordinated Baby’s Initial Bookshelves? There are people who probably have had those dreams and yearnings, but here’s the thing, Self, I am not one of them.

I want to feed that voice that knows that Dane and I do not care about these things, but instead we care about using what we have been given to bless and help other people. That knows, because we have learned, that obedience is the only way to a purposeful and meaningful life.

I’m pretty sure that that other voice will pop up a few more times, and make me want to feel like we’re missing out. A LOT more times. Right now, it’s readily apparent that that voice fits on me like a pair of diamond-studded 5″ heels (which is to say: ridiculous and likely dangerous).

Help us remember that!

– – – – –

*I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy these things – I loooove how Ella has Bonnie’s nose and Evie has Judd’s eyes and Jillian has Denise’s… kind of entire face, actually, etc., but that’s not why we love these kids… they’re just fun facts! If those similarities were why we loved these kids, what would that mean, exactly?

Posted in Posts by Abbey
3 comments on “Self
  1. Christy says:

    I wish I could give you a big hug. I miss getting to hear this stuff, so I appreciate you sharing what you are working through as you go through this process. You may never have been one of “those” people, but those natural maternal instincts that will make you a great foster mom will still feel loss. Just because you didn’t pine for a baby doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t “you”. Keep taking the time to look at those feelings like you did here and I think it will make you an even better foster mom.

  2. Christie Wyatt says:

    Love your blog and your transparency. You and Dane are a blessing to me in just watching you grow and love people. I am much older but I learn much from you. Love you both and I pray for you both.

  3. Susanna says:

    and don’t forget how much cooler those “fun facts” are with adopted and foster kids anyway, because they’re not a given; there’s not really any surprise that Ella should have bonnie’s nose, it was a genetic possibility, even probability. but Erin’s uncanny resemblance in so many nuanced ways to Laurie, now that’s just plain special. Totally God-given and unexpected, and a million times more awesome. and I will say, we all have weird expectations, and I’m so proud of you for realizing the blessing in the opportunities you have, instead of moping in the ones you’re missing. It’s your attitude in times like these that inspire me to go get a little Christmas tree and a separate stocking to hang all by itself on my apartment fireplace, and enjoy making my little single-person residence into a home. It’s the difference between “I’m alone and lonely and I resent that I have to support myself because I’m by myself” and “I get to make a place that is 100% totally me, nobody to compromise with, or to complain or make fun of my ideas, and not everybody gets to see what they come up with when left to their own devices, and I do”…. you might be missing the swollen ankle horror stories, but really, these things are tomayto tomahto- they tell you about their 19 hour drug-free delivery, you tell them about your last-minute dash to find and assemble age-appropriate furniture for your new foster…. Anyway, I love you 🙂

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