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Growing Pains - Our Back Bedroom

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Growing Pains - Our Back Bedroom
On Saturday morning I was upstairs in the spare back bedroom doing some ironing. Whoever is in charge of programme scheduling on BBC Radio 2 has shifted Sounds of the ‘60s to the ridiculous time slot of 6 a.m. until 8 a.m., so I’ve missed it. Instead of singing along to the Hollies, Marmalade, Love Affair and others who provided the comforting music of my younger days, I enjoyed the peace and quiet, alone with my thoughts.
I thought about the many make-overs the room had under gone with various occupants over the years. It was our room once. Magnolia emulsion on woodchip, Artex textured ceiling and I think it was a stripey carpet. We moved into the newly decorated front bedroom and, as children were our regular guests, we furnished this back room with bunk beds and made it a home for some of my teddy bears.
A nephew, about six years old, kept waking up with a headache one night. I sat with him, bucket at the ready for the inevitable sickness, and hoped his distress wouldn’t disturb his younger sister, our niece, who slept peacefully in the next room.
Our son arrived. He had the tiny boxroom at first. He had night terrors when he was a toddler until he was about four. It gave me terrors of my own when disturbed by his screaming. I would dash into his room to find him sitting up staring at something only he could see. He soon calmed down with a reassuring cuddle. Before he started school, we moved him into the back bedroom, now decorated in bright colours, mainly yellow and with a theme of cartoon style zoo animals. A few years later, while he was away at Cub Camp, we re-vamped his room with a Manchester United theme as a surprise to come home to. He loved it and was even more delighted, as we all were when Manchester United won the treble that season.
Our daughter arrived and the boxroom was suitably freshened up. When she was a little girl she suffered dreadful leg cramps. The pain made her cry and sometimes disturbed her sleep. By the time she was about eight, our son had moved into another room and she was resident in the back bedroom, now Barbie themed with bright pink curtains and sparkly pink painted walls. I would sit on her bed in this pink paradise, massaging ‘magic cream’ moisturiser into the offending leg hoping to relive the pain as we waited for the double dose of Calpol Junior to take effect. Growing pains, the doctor said.
Growing pains, whatever form they take, are the hardest pains of all. It’s the adolescent boundary pushing, teenage angst, tearful tantrums that is all part of growing up and discovering who we are and who we want to be, or think we want to be that I found the most challenging; both as a parent and with memories of my own teens.
In more recent years, our daughter and her boyfriend shared this room until they moved to their own place. Our son and his girlfriend made it home for a while and re-decorated it beautifully in brown and taupe, painting over the graffiti that I’d accepted was someone’s freedom of expression. This time last year they also found their own place.
This lovely, large back bedroom that holds so many memories is a spare room again. And there’s a cot now as our grandchildren are overnight guests. Our adult children are raising their own families and experiencing the next generation of growing pains.
I put the iron down for a moment and glanced through the window. I noticed the gentleman across the back was sitting out in the sun, newspaper and morning coffee to hand. Good idea.
This poem always reminds me of our son’s night terrors.
  A Child Half-Asleep by Tony Connor  
 Stealthily parting the small-hours silence,
A hardly-embodied figment of his brain
Comes down to sit with me
As I work late.
Flat-footed, as though his legs and feet
Were still asleep.
 
He sits on a stool,
Staring into the fire,
His dummy dangling.
 
Fire ignites the small coals of his eyes.
It stares back through the holes
Into his head, into the darkness.
 
I ask what woke him?
 
‘A wolf dreamed me’ he says.
 
 Thanks for reading, Pam x Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook

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