Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bittersweet Bemusement

I spent some time today over at our old house, working on the final cleanup before we're 100% out of there.

I tossed bigger trash in the garbage bag and swept up the little stuff as I worked upstairs; I'd taken care of sweeping up downstairs yesterday.  I fiddled and boxed up a few more things, random stuff that had been left behind after the big move.

And then I stood in the middle of the twins' old room.

I didn't want to.

But it needed to be done.

And I told myself not to wince; they're just removable wall stickers, not really Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.

I picked at the edge of the first sticker...a happy little non-threatening bee.  Then Lumpy and his mom.  Then Pooh and Piglet and honey hunny pots.  Tigger.  Flowers.  A bluebird.  Roo.  More Pooh, Piglet and Tigger.

As I peeled, I remembered the day my mom and I had carefully applied these stickers to the wall.

It seems so much longer than two and a half years ago.

After we had filed suit in court, my mom had suggested that we spend some money and make our house look more like a home.  Curtains on the windows.  Decorate the kids' rooms.  Pictures on the walls.  Things that suggested permanence.

Ghosts of all those framed photos show on the living room walls.  Those photographs are sitting in our new house, patiently waiting to be hung.

The princess castle and curtains from Large Fry's old room are gone, the curtains moved and the castle picked and peeled off long ago.

The Pooh wall stickers were the last reminders of that.

I remembered how carefully we had smoothed those stickers onto the wall.  We'd done the princess castle in Large Fry's room first, and then moved on to the twin Fries' room, sprinkling happy 100 Acre Wood friends around the room.

We were careful not to apply bee stickers above Medium Fry's crib, because she was so terrified of buggies.

We were careful to place the stickers high enough on the walls to not have them be attacked by small children standing up in their cribs.

They made a definite improvement in the room.

Those were some scary, difficult days.

The revocation of the powers of attorney we had held meant that we were caring for these children with no legal grounds should they need something like medical care.  We were in a very tense waiting period, our petition having been submitted to the court for an emergency special relief to keep the children in our care until we could reach the hearing.  My brother's letter had given us "about a week" to prepare the kids for the move to the new guardian's and to "say [our] goodbyes."  He gave no specific date.  We had no idea if or when he (or the newly named guardian by POA) would show up on our doorstep.  Our lawyer had advised us to not let him--or anyone else--take the children before the judge ruled on our request to maintain guardianship until the hearing.  We lived in a very safe neighborhood, in a very safe town, and for the first time in two and a half years, I was terrified to be home alone.  We kept our doors locked all the time, in a place where I could leave the house for half an hour to an hour, not lock the doors, and nothing would happen while I was gone.  It was awful to live in such constant terror and worry.

Mom and Dad set aside their normal lives for a week, journeying out to spend the day with me and the Fries while Hubby went to work, so that I wouldn't have to be alone at the house.  We bought material; Mom sewed curtains.  Dad and I bought curtain rods.  Hubby and Dad hung the new curtains.  We bought sheers for the living room.  We bought more sheers for the kitchen, which Mom cannibalized and created new valances out of.  (Large Fry helped.)

And we stuck Winnie-the-Pooh and friends to walls.

I remember being very glad my mother was there to help me do all this stuff.

Here I was, in my mid-thirties, and desperately thankful that my parents were there to make it all okay again.  Sure, that's oversimplifying, but I cannot deny the fact that the presence of my parents reassured me that I would be okay.  The Fries would be okay.

As I carefully peeled Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Roo, bees, Lumpy and hunny pots from the walls, I reflected on how much had changed since that day.

We've got physical custody of the Fries.  We've bought a house.  Large Fry is in school; the twins are in preschool.  Hubby has a new job.  The twins are out of cribs and in big-girl beds.

Not everything has changed, though.

Winnie-the-Pooh and his pals still decorate their room.

It's good to keep your friends around.

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