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Monday, October 06, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday – freshen up

Try This Tuesday

Several kindly persons have seen fit to remark about the vast quantities of art work that bedeck the walls of our family room, but to all things, there is a season.

Every summer at the end of school, I remove them all, pack them up into a bundle for each child and pop them in the attic. This is why the attic is not only a fire hazard but in danger of collapsing in upon us all.

Hence, I decided that the room was in need of a makeover, an inexpensive one in line with my frugal Scottish heritage.

Some me time in August the art work was subject to the annual bundle and my naked filthy walls were revealed. The tide line above the L-shaped sectional couch was all too obvious. The art work was first attached to the wall to hide the original tide line as well as multifarious cracks and holes. I had no choice but to get busy with the 409, a scrubbing brush and a Mr.Muscle Eraser for the truly desperate.

Once the wall were clean, or at least cleaner, they also seemed stark and cold, not an ideal vision for a family room. However, as always, Target came to the rescue with a dozen dollar box frames. I slipped a new art project into each one and mounted them on the walls with push pins at strategic points. Strategic points are perfect for achieving that ecletic look and far easier than attempting a straight line. Because they are so light there was no need to fight with tools and ‘beam detectors’ buried in the garage or hidden with spurious spousal care.

So have a go and transform a dingy wall.

Here endeth the tackle.

Here starteth the true tackle.

It was my children’s habit to run along the top of the sofa, before leaping onto the trampolene and then back onto the sectional for another circuit. Should anyone be wondering why any sane person should permit such disgraceful behaiour in their own home I would respectfully point out that ‘self regulation’ is a beautiful thing and infinitely preferable to any number of far more egregious behaviours.

This wasn’t behaviour I was anxious to curb, merely contain in one room.

No, the true tackle was the transition. Which transition? The removal of their art work, the change in the appearance of their tatty but homey, family room. They had coped well with their sister’s "bedroom transformation," but the family room would be more personal.

Those walls were buried but it started innocently enough. Bear in mind that the boys both abhorred anything remotely resembling a writing tool and one loathed the texture of paper. As a result the half a dozen pictures on the wall were my daughter’s cheerful enthusiasms. A delightful collection of sunny days and cute animals. Nothing from the boys.

This is why their first tentative efforts, not matter how mangled, no matter how babyish, years later than might have otherwise been the case, were works to be celebrated. Not art but real tough graft.

At first there were only a few but as the weeks and months passed there were more. What started with the occasional and reluctant daub, became more frequent. Each and every one was added to the wall. Layer upon layer, it grew and grew and so did they.

I could tell you about the first time my son accepted a genuine compliment from me without a meltdown. I could tell you about the first time he gave a genuine compliment to his brother, without prompting. So many tiny huge steplets piled higher and higher.

Over time, they too began to appreciate their efforts and take pride in them, as we did. Hence to strip it all away would be a monumental transition. I had warned them about the plan when they left for school. I had warned them that when they returned it would all be different. I dreaded bringing them home as I feared that this would be too much and too soon, that I would be unable to repair the damage. Many of our fears are exaggerated, as experience has taught us to expect the unexpected from the ordinary. Many of our fears are unwarranted, but we have learned to be hyper-vigilant ourselves, to anticipate pitfalls and adopt a whole host of coping strategies.

It is to their credit that the change was adopted, welcomed and celebrated.

An over protective parent may seek to wrap up their children in cotton wool, but next time I think I’ll try wallpaper.

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